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ADVENTURES 



IHTHB 



WILDS OF THE UNITED STATES 



▲HD 



§riti5| l^m^rkan lr0ttces. 



BT 



CHARLES LANMAN, 

▲UTBOK OF "EBSAT8 FOR SUXKBB HOTTBS/' ''PBIYATB LIFE OF DASIEL WXBSTEB," BTC, BTC. 



ZIiLT78TBATXD BT TEX ATTTHOB AND 080AB BBSSAU. 



■WlUtrat resisteriag thea* thlnfi 



bj the p«a they^vilj tlfj^ ^way uapi^ofl^b^ 

> i ," '. * . - * / \ - ; ' ' 
t * » t » * *-» * ** ^ ^ * * ' 

s ;. . r^nrt * %*'''' 



— Owxir FsunAM. 






* » 4 

» < 



WITH AN APPBNDHC: BYjLWUT./iJJiiSl'BJffiLL HARDY. 

. t t »* .,* »' *«' " 



IN TWO VOLUMES. 



VOL. n. 



PfflLADELPHLA. : 
JOHN W. MOORE, No. 195 CHESTNUT STRJIET. 

1856. 



) .- 



Entered acoording to act of Cosgrosa, In the year 1856, hj 
JOHN W. MOORE, 

n the Clerk's Offlce of the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of 

Fenn^jlranla. 




n. B. ASHUEAD, BOOK AND JOB PRINTER, 
OBORQB SnillT AB07B ELKVZITTH. 



CONTENTS OF V0£. IL 



THE BAT OP FUNDY, 

THE BIVEBS ST. JOHN AND MIRAMICHl, 
THE RIVER NIPI8IGUIT, - - - - 

THE BAY Of CHALEUR, - .- 

THE RIVER RESTIQOUCHE; .... 
THE DISTRICT OP GASPE; .... 
THE SOUTHERN SHORE OP THE ST. LAWRENCE, 



^ J V ^ « 



-> ^ • • 



• e o >j 



WASHINGTON TO SAVANNAll, - 
FLORIDA, 



- J ^ * 






* - : 



^ J 
J V 



ST. AUGUSTINE, 






BLACK CREEK AND TRAVELLING INCIDENTS, 
THE 8UWANEE RIVER AND WAKULLA FOUNTAIN^ 
THE CHATTAHOOCHEE RIVER^ 

HUNTSVILLE; 

THU ALABAMA RIVER, - - - . 

THE TOMBIGBEB AND BLACK WARRIOR RIVERS, 
A JAUNT INTO MISSISSIPPI, - - - 



NEW ORLEANS, 



THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI, - - - . 

THE OHIO RIVER AND OVER THE MOUNTAINS, 



PACIB. 

9 
17 
24 
36 
46 
67 
81 



95 
105 
114 
125 
133 
146 
153 
165 
171 
18lf 
199 
207 
213 



( 



CONTENTS. 



THE SUGAB CAMP, 
ACCOMAC, 



THE ITB TBAPPEBS, 



BOCK CBEEK, 



A YIBQINIA BABBECUE, 



BATTLESNAKES, 

A WESTEBN PIONEEB, 



PLANTATION CUSTOMS, 



DEATH IN THE WILDEBNESS, 



THE CANADIAN BECLUSE, 
TBIP TO WATCH HILL, 



A WEEK IN A FISHING SMACK; 
A CHIP FBOM BLOCK ISLAND, 



SALMON FISHING, 
TBOUT FISHING, 



BASS FISHING, 
BOCK FISHING, 



PIKE FisHiv9#*{ ••• \ ; '.-: ;•- 

FISHING UffiVmttSiLL,* •* ••• - 
INDIAN legends', *: J- •yll 1*1^ 



• ••- 

• • • 
•• • 
•• • 

• ••> 



APPENDIX, 



'> f t n 9 Aa* mm 



221 

229 
238 
245 
256 
260 
269 
273 
280 
284 
290 
300 
309 
316 
335 
345 
356 
369 
387 
394 
481 



ILLUSTRATIONS VOL. II. 



THE PAPINEAU FALLS, fiue page 21 

ATHOL HOUSE, ' 5r> 

SPEARING SALMON, ' ' 65 

VIEW ON THE ST. JOHN, FLORIDA, . - - . . " 109 

GROUP OF GAME FISH, '317 

WINTER FISHING ON THE ST. LAWRENCE, - - •' •' 374 



• f 



A TOUR 



TO tHB 



RIVER RESTIGOUCHE. 



ADVENTURES IN THE WILDS 



OP THE 



l^rateb J>tafes anh j§ritis| %mtxim '^Mms. 






THE BAT OF FUNDT. 



On the tenth day of June I left the city of Washington, ac- 
companied by my wife, bound upon a summer tour ,to the 
River Restigouche, watering the provinces of New Brunswick 
and Lower Canada. I tarried in New York just long enough 
to run through the picture galleries, and replenish my stock of 
sketching materials and fishing tackle. On my way to Boston 
I was joined by a sister, whereby a party of three was form^, 
which being composed of an angler and two ladies was a capital 
arrangement ; for while the former would have none to inter- 
fere with his sport, the two latter could so amuse themselves 
as to be quite independent of extra gentlemanly attentions. 

To Portland we went by the Eastern railroad, the conductor 
of which, Mr. William Ackerman, an exceedingly polite and 
pleasant person, informed us that he had been stationed on 
this route, as stage-driver and conductor, for upwards of twen- 
ty-eight years. He also stated that the railroad had been in 
operation for thirteen years, and during this peiiod not a sin- 
gle regular passenger had been killed by any accident to the 
cars. Mr. Ackerman spoke in a very pleasant manner of the 

VOL. II. — B 



10 THE BAY OP PUNDY. 

many great men with whom he had become acquainted daring 
his long-continued road business. He mentioned the names 
of Cass, Clay, and Calhoun ; but of Webster, whom he knew 
better than all, he spoke in affectionate terms, and seemed to 
think it the prominent, and most mournful event of his life 
that he had been permitted to see his remains deposited in the 
tomb. 

At Portland we took the steamer Admiral, for St. John. 
Passage made in twenty-four hours, and everything connected 
with our steamer was truly admirable, and with the Bay of 
Fundy exceedingly interesting. Shores and Islands bold and 
fantastic ; rocks dark, gray and brown ; waters deep blue ; and 
the prospect seaward occasionally enlivened by the spouting of 
a whale, and always covered with a fleet of ships or fishing 
vessels. We had a favorable view of the island of Grand 
Manan, at the entrance to the Bay of Fundy, which is twenty 
miles long, five wide, well cultivated, and whose rock-bound 
shores are in some places six hundred feet high. To the Ge- 
ologist, this island, and its more impretending neighbors, present 
a most interesting field of observation ; and, in some instances, 
for example, he will discover no less than a dozen distinct layers 
of different kinds of rock, each presenting the appearance of 
having been cut off by a sharp instrument, and these eccentric 
^velopments will astonish him, and puzzle his philosophy. 
Tne ornithologist also, as did our great Audubon, will find 
much here to delight him in his studies ; for here the herring 
gull is found building its nests in the top of trees, and not upon 
the ground, whereby it abandons its ancient habit and resorts 
to an unusual instinct to preserve its eggs from the grasp of 
the greedy hunters ; and, here too, will be found the breeding 
places of those famous little birds, the stormy petrels, which, 
during the breeding season, burrow into the soft ground or hide 
themselves in hollow rotten logs. 

The lofty trap cliffs of Nova Scotia which loomed above the 
southern horizon were too remote to be appreciated, but we 
felt a little covetous as we thought of the splendid agates, cor- 
nelians, and amethysts which abound among them, some of 



THE BAY OP FUNDY. 11 

which were picked up by the early French voyagers, and are 
at this day among the crown jewels of France. 

I spent an hour or so on the forward deck of our goodly 
steamer, and had a pleasant chat with a party of Bay ^ Fundy 
skippers or fishermen, who had been to Boston upon a visit 
And were then returning to St. John to prepare for a new 
cruize. One of them, was, beyond all question, the very man 
Mr. Lorenzo Sabine honored with an introduction, some weeks 
ago, to the Secretary of the Treasury as a specimen of the race. 
Bred to the use of boats from his earliest youth, as Mr. Sabine 
has pleasantly written, he displays astonishing skill in their man- 
agement, and great boldness in his adventures. He will cross, the 
stormiest weather, from island to island, and go from passage to 
passage through frightful whirls of tides which meet and part 
with a loud roar ; and he will dive headlong, as it were, upon 
rocks and bars, merely to show how easily he can shun them, 
or how readily and certainly he can " go about" and stand off 
on the " other tack." He is neither landsmen nor seaman, a 
soldier nor a marine ; but you would think by his talk that he 
could appear to advantage in either of these characters. He is 
neither a merchant nor a mechanic, and yet he can buy and 
sell, mend and make, as expertly as either. In the healing art 
he is T^e above all others, and fancies that he possesses a sov- 
ereign specific for every aliment which all the world beside con- 
siders as incurable. He holds nautical instruments in high de- 
rision ; for the state of the lyoon and the weather, predictions 
of the almanac, the peculiar sound of the sea when it ^^ moans," 
and the particular size or shape of a " cat's paw" or "glin" in 
the sky, lead him to far surer results. He will undertake no- 
thing of consequence upon a Friday, and can prove by a hundred 
incidents how infallible are the signs and omens which he be- 
lieves in. He thinks to die in his bed. True it is that he has 
been overset ; that his boat, loaded with fish to the "gunnel," 
has sunk under him, and that a vessel has run over him ; but 
he is still alive and "was not born to be drowned." His " fish 
stories" are without end. In politics, he goes for the largest 
liberty. He has never heard of easements and prescriptive 



12 THE BAY OP FUNDY. 

rights ; but he occupies at will both beach and upland, with- 
out any claim to either, and will browbeat the actual proprie* 
tor who has the temerity to remind him of their relative 
position^. Against speculators he wages perpetual war ; why 
should he not? since it is they who put up the price of his 
favorite '^ flat-hooped, fine middlings flour," and put down the 
price of fish and '^ ile !" And who shall do justice to his dress 
and to his professional gear ? The garments which cover his 
upper and nether man he calls tie aute. The queer-shaped 
thing worn upon his crown is a sou' -wester ; or, if the humor 
takes him, north-easter. He wears neither mittens nor gloves, 
but has a substitute which he has named nippers. When he 
talks about brushj he means to speak of the matted and tangled 
mass which grows upon his head ; or the long, red hair under 
his chin, which serves the purpose of a neck-cloth ; or of that 
in front of his ears, which renders him impervious^ to the dun 
of his merchant. His boots are stampers. Lest he should 
lose the moveables about his person, he has them fastened to 
his pockets by lanyards. One of his knives is a ciUrthroaty 
and another is a splitter. His apron, of leather or canvas, is 
a barvel. The compartment of his boat into which he throws 
his fish a§ he catches them is a kid. The state of the moon 
favorable for " driving herring," he calls darks. The^ent-up 
iron hook which he uses to carry his burning torch on the her- 
ring ground,, is a dragon. The small net with an iron bow 
and wooden handle, is a dip-netj Ijpcause it is with that that he 
dips out of the water the fish which his light attracts to the 
surface. His set^et is differently hung, and much larger ; it 
has leads on its lower edge to sink it in the water, and corks 
upon its upper edge, at regular intervals, to buoy it up and 
preserve it nearly in a perpendicular direction, so that the her- 
rings may strike it and become entangled in its meshes. Nor 
ends his dialect here. Ghebacco-boats and small schooners are 
known to him as pinkies, pogieSj jiggers. He knows but little 
about the hours of the day and night ; everything with him 
is reckoned by the tide. Thus, if you ask him what time he 
was married, he will answer, " On the young flood last night," 



THE BAY OP FUNDY. 18 

and ke will tell yon that he saw a man thk morning about 
^^ low-water slack;" or, as the case maybe, '^jost at half-flood," 
"as the tide turned," or "two hours to low water." If he 
speaks of the length of line required on the different fishing- 
ground, he will compute* by "shots;" he means thirty fathoms. 
If he 'have fish to sell and is questioned as to their size, he 
will reply that they are ^^two quintaV fish, by which he means 
that fifty will weigh one hundred and twelve pounds. He is 
kind and hospitable in his way ; and the visitor who is treated 
to fresh smother, duff, tkudje-JloggerSj may regard himself as a 
decided favorite. He believes in witches and in dreams. The 
famous pirate Kyd buried gold and treasure in Money Gove 
and Grand Manan^ he is sure; and he has dug for it many a 
time. Mis "woman" is the "best;" the harbor he lives in is 
^^ the safest ;" and h%$ boat is " the fastest, and will carry sail 
the longest." When determined upon going home,4fhether he 
is upon the land or the sea, he says, " Well, I'll up killock and 
be off." 

Among our fello^ passengers were a husband and wife, who 
very deservedly excited general interest. The former had both 
eyes shot out of his head while on a hunting expedition, and 
subsequently, by another accident, had lost one of his legs. 
While in ^is condition, a beautiful and accomplished woman 
fell in love with him, and the twain, in the happiest mood, were 
now upon a pleasant tour. 

We found St. John an uncommonly picturesque and romantic 
cily, and its business greatly on the increase. At high water 
its harbor is one of the handsomest, and at low water,»one of 
the most uninteresting on the Atlantic coast, and what is more, 
it is never frozen. St. John is built upon a rock and has some 
handsome buildings both public and private. Fifty years ago 
its site was covered with trees, and only a few straggling huts 
existed within its harbor, and it was first settled principally by 
American loyalists who came thither from Nantucket, after our 
Independence had been established. As is naturally the case 
in all the Colonial cities of England, European goods are much 
cheaper here than in the United States, and the supply of rich 



14 THE BAT OF FUNDY. 

and beautiful fabrics is most abundant. The chief articles of 
exportation are lumber and fish, and the present population is 
nearly thirty-five thousand. The spacious harbor is filled with 
shipping, and, like all respectable cities each man seems to mind 
none other than his own business, while* the society is excellent, 
polite and highly intelligent. 

Since my arrival here I have learned with pleasure that the 
government of New Brunswick have concluded to make exten- 
sive scientific investigations, having for their object the elucida- 
tion of the remarkable tides of the Bay of Fundy. Able re- 
ports on this subject, on account of the fogs and winds which 
prevail here, are very much needed. On coming up the Bay, 
I noticed that at Eastport the tide rose some twenty-five feet, 
while at St. John it rises thirty ; and I am informed that at the 
eastern extremities of the bay it rises some sixty-five feet. To 
the foregoing, during the spring tides, may be added the num- 
bers five, ten and fifteen feet. By intelligent men who have 
witnessed its feats, I am told the coming of the tidal wave in 
some of the eastern estuaries is truly astonishing. It forms a 
perfect wall of blue waves, skirted with snowy foam, and tra- 
vels with a rapidity far outstripping the fleetest horse. The 
beaches or shingles of sand which the receding water have ex- 
posed, extend at times a distance of several miles, from the 
main land, and as these abound in various kinds of shell fish, 
it is customary for the swine of the neighboring farms to resort 
thither for the purpose of feasting upon the treasures of the 
deep, and it is a singular fact that long before the human eye 
and e%r can detect the coming of the tidal wave, the acute 
senses of these brutes warn them of danger, and they flee to the 
shore for safety, and in spite of their fleetness it is frequently 
the case that they are overtaken and drowned. To the people 
of St. John the peerless salmon is a source of considerable 
profit. The fisheries of the harbor belong to the citizens of the 
city, and the fishing grounds or stations, are lotted out, or sold 
at auction, every year, for their benefit. The practical fisher- 
men are the purchasers. The number of salmon taken in the 
last few years, has averaged about thirty-five thousand, which 



THE BAT OF FUKDT. 16 

sold for as many dollars, to be packed in ice and sent to Boston. 
The fish are chiefly taken with drift nets and weirs. 

A noble salmon, now being carried on the back of a boy 
under the window where I am writing, (one, by the way, of 
twenty caught by a single fisherman in the harbor of St, John 
this morning where the nets are staked out to within a few 
feet of the anchored ships,) reminds me of that great oceanic 
'^ kettle of fish'! over which the two leading nations of the 
earth are at present holding a pow-wow. I am convinced that 
the tone of public opinion in this region on the political ques- 
tion at issue, is rapidly changing. The British provinces hav- 
ing recently become animated with a genuine spirit of enter- 
prise ; they are resolved to work out their own fortune, and 
the concessions they were willing to make to Brother Jonathan 
a year ago will never, I fear, be heard of more. We of the 
States have in this matter been too thoughtless and slow for our ' 
own good. 

But if I cannot communicate to my reader any interesting 
information on the subject of the fisheries at large, I can give 
him a little gossip respecting the most distinguished angler and 
naturalist of this region. I allude to Moses H. Perley, Esq., 
Her Majesty's emigration officer at this port, whose pardon I 
hereby crave for mentioning his name. His family is one of 
the oldest in the province and although his grandfather and 
father were both honorably identified with its early history^ 
neither of them accomplished as much as he, in adding to its 
fame and developing its resources. His taste for angling early 
led him to acquaint himself with the entire region formerly 
known as Acadia, but more especially with its finny tribes, and 
his various reports made officially to the colonial government, 
are exceedingly 6omplete and valuable. Mr. Perley tells me 
that he performs an annual pilgrimage to remote parts of the 
country, that he has caught fish in every stream of any note 
which empties either into the Gulf of St. Lawrence or the Bay 
of Fundy. Many valuable collections of the rarer fishes and 
reptiles, as well as other natural curiosities, has he thus been 
enabled to make, and these he has presented to public institu- 



16 THE BAT OF FUKDY. 

tions in which he felt an interest. The collection he is now 
forming is intended for the cabinet of his distinguished friend 
Professor Agassiz. 

It may be well imagined that a person possessing the tastes 
of Mr. Perlej would have an interesting depot for implements 
of sporting, and the spoils of forest and flood. His library is 
indeed just such a place. It is filled to oyerflowing with rare 
and carious books, rods of every style, (including one by Kelly, 
which has killed eight thousand trout,) guns of all kinds, busts, 
statuettes and pictures, unnumbered Indian curiosities, while 
moose and cariboo horns, ornament the walls, and stuffed ani* 
mals every unoccupied shelf or bracket. In the centre of this 
charming room stands a large table, covered with the latest 
English periodicals and papers, upon which were written the 
several reports on the sea and river fisheries of New Brunswick 
' and Nova Scotia already mentioned. On questioning Mr. Per- 
ley as to the number of fishes which he had catalogued and de- 
scribed in these reports, he informed me that they consisted of 
eighteen families, comprising forty genera and sixty-two species. 
With a very few exceptions all these fish are found in the 
waters of the United States. Mr. Perley has also done more 
than any other individual to perpetuate the history of the In- 
dian tribes of New Brunswick, and in return for his kindness 
to one of the leading tribes, the Micmacs, he has been elected 
their Head Chief, and when decked out in his official dress his 
appearance is well nigh magnificent. 



THE RIVERS ST. JOHN AND MIRAMICHL 



The diBtanoe from St. John to Bathnrst is two hundred and 
forty miles, and I hardly know in what other direction one 
would travel to enjoy the same variety of charming scenery. 
I knew, from personal observation, that the upper portion of 
the river St. John, was remarkable for its beauty; but a sum- 
m^-day's sail from its mouth to Fredericton, a distance of ninety 
mfles, convinces me that it cannot be surpassed by any other 
stream in respect either to beauty or utility. This lower por« 
tion of the river which the Micmacs called Looihtook or Hand- 
some River and which I have elsewhere touched upon, runs 
through a rich interval land, and is navigable for steamboats 
and small schooners, which do a thriving business. Just before 
entering the Bay of Fundy, however, the entire volume of its 
waters is forced through a limestone gorge, only one hundred 
and fifty yards wide, and running, as a matter of course, with 
great rapidity; and what is remarkable, when the tide of the 
Bay is high, a strong current sets inward from the sea. The 
result is, that a double fall of water is thus formed, the fresh 
water at one time descending twenty feet, and at another the 
salt water also descending, up stream, about fifteen feet. The 
time allotted to vessels for passing through this gorge is limited 
to perhaps one hour. For fifteen miles from its mouth the 
banks of the river are quite hilly, and as extensive bays or 
inlets come into it, both from the east and west, the expanse of 
water is occasionally very broad, and when dotted with sails 
and other evidences of civilized life, presents a most cheerful 
aspect. Extensive and pigturesque meadows, with pleasant 



18 THE RipRS ST. JOHN AND MIRAMICHI. 

farm houses and drooping elms without number, attract the at- 
tention of the observer; and when these are connected with the 
singing of the birds, tUi tinkling of bells, the low murmurs of 
the dark and rapid stream, th^ immense floating rafts of lum- 
ber and logs, with their boarded cabins and red-shirted lumber- 
men, and also with an occasional Indian in his canoe, the im- 
pression left upon the mind is delightful in the extreme. The 
interval lands, which are highly cultivated, are of course an- 
nually covered with water, and it is the nt)vel boast of some of 
the inhabitants that they gather two crops from the same land 
in one year — ^in the spring an abundance of herring, and in the 
autumn a crop of potatoes or grain. The hills lying remote 
from the river are also cultivated, evidently by a tasteful and 
industrious population. The steamers running on the river are 
small but comfortable,. and like the people of New Brunswick 
generally, their officers are communicative and polite to all 
strangers. The total length of the river St. John is four hun- 
dred and fifty miles, and it waters a country comprising seven- 
teen million square acres, nine millions of which are in New 
Brunswick, two in Canada and six in the United States. 

The city of Fredericton, above which the larger vessels of the 
river do not ascend, occupies a perfectly level piece of interval 
land, flanked with hills on the western bank, and is one of the 
sunniest and most agreeable inland towns imaginable. Since 
it derives its chief importance from being the seat of govern- 
ment, it is an appropriate place of residence for retired gentle- 
men, who have congregated there to a considerable extent. It 
contains a number of handsome buildings, among which are the 
residence of the governor of the province, Sir Edmund Head, a 
college, the legislative buildings, with a small but good library, 
and a most polite librarian, and the barracks, which however^ 
are only distinguished for occupying the pleasantest part of 
the town. In two particulars the town is far ahead of many 
more ambitious places ; for it has a flrst-rate hotel, and a very 
elegant and substantial cathedral, built at a cost of $80,000, 
belonging to the established church of England, and in which a 
Lord Bishop preaches regularly. 



THB RIVEES BT. JOHN AND MIRAMICHI. 19 

From Fredericton we travelled in an open wagon; and 
after crossing the St. John, our course lay to the northeast, 
directly along the banks, of the Nashwaak river. This is a 
stream to fall in love with, for it is rapid, clear, and wayward 
in its windings:, but as it is crossed by one or two dams, its 
glory as a salmon stream is forever departed. At the mouth 
of it, however, capital bass-fishing may be enjoyed nearly all 
the summer. On leaving the Nashwaak about twenty miles 
from its mouth, we entered upon what was formerly an Indian 
portage, the crown of which is a ridge separating the streams 
emptying into the Gulf of St. Lawrence from those emptying 
into the Bay of Fundy. We struck the southwest and principal 
branch of the Miramichi at Bolestown, founded by an American, 
formerly a thriving place, but now a miserable hamlet, made up 
of the tottering remains of wooden houses, bams, mills, and mill- 
dams. At this point may ak^ays be found rare trout-fishing, 
and a dozen miles or more further up the stream a goodly num- 
ber of salmon are annually taken with the fly. When I reached 
there, a couple of anglers from the States were already on the 
ground and others were expected. 

We travelled down the Miramichi to where it is navigable for 
ships of the largest class, and were delighted with everything 
we saw and heard. This river derives its most appropriate name 
from the Micmac Indians, tlie meaning of which is the Happy 
Retreat. That it was a lovely and happy region in days of 
yore is quite evident, even from its present attractions. It is 
one of the largest rivers in the Province ; its total length being 
two hundred and twenty miles, and its mouth nine miles in width, 
the tide flowing forty miles from the gulf. The lands on either 
side are fertile, the scenery rather tame but charming, and the 
farm houses scattered along its entire length have a cheerful 
and comfortable appearance. The inhabitants of the valley are 
of Scotch, Irish and English descent, and as a class, are intel- 
ligent, obliging, and industrious. In former times the traffic 
of the valley was extensive, for the forest afforded almost every 
variety of animals, yielding valuable furs, and then followed an 
extensive lumbering business, which at the present time only 



20 THE BIVEBS ST. JOHN AND MIBAMICHI. 

partially prospers, while ship-building and the exportation of 
fish are getting to be the chief sources of money-making. The 
attention devoted to agriculture thus far has been limited ; but 
since all the crops growing in the Northern States, excepting 
corn, grow exceedingly well in this section of country, a deci* 
ded change seems to be taking place, and the inhabitants are 
yearly tilling more soil. The four principal villages of the 
lower river are Nelson, Newcastle, Douglass and Chatham, the 
first occupying the junction of the nortWest and southwest 
branches of the Miramichi, and the others, which are farther 
down, lying on both sides of the Bay of Miramichi. In the 
immediate vicinity of these busy little towns, which ought to 
have been concentrated into one, I counted at anchor no less 
than twenty large ships, and on the stocks some seven or eight, 
all bound to Great Britain, and thence to the remotest comers 
of the earth, as fortune might dAermine. The first ship that 
entered the mouth of the Miramichi was the frigate which took 
the remains of General Wolfe from Quebec.to England in 1759, 
a storm having driven her in for safety. 

Among the pleasant objects which attracted my attention 
while descending the Miramichi were the pretty churches, which 
occasionally loomed above the trees. Of these, five attracted 
my particular attention by their tasteful, gothic beauty; and on 
making inquiries about them, I learned the following facts: 
They are scattered over a space of- fifty or sixty miles, and 
were built by (me person, who, besides having accomplished this 
truly remarkable undertakbg, is ii^the habit of supplying all 
his pulpits in person. Not only did he raise and expend the 
money for his churches, but they were built after his own 
designs, whereby he has proven himself quite an accomplished 
architect. He is an Episcopalian of the higher order ^ a native 
of Dublin, about forty years of age, and a bachelor. While 
superintending the erection of his churches, he usually occupied 
a room in the immediate vicinity of each, where he slept between 
his own sheets and on his own iron bedstead, to avoid the insect 
assassins of the country, and cooked his own victuals. All his 
thoughts have ever been, and still are, directed to the interests 



THE RIVERfi ST. JOHN AKB MIRAHICHI. 



21 



of mother cbnrch, and the only money he has recently expended 
for an entirely selfish purpose was invested in five iron bedsteads, 
which are the sleeping attachments of his several churches. As 
a preacher, I am told that the gentleman in question is really 
eloquent. As his self-established circuit is extensive, he is 
constantly on the move, travelling in a small one-horse wagon, 
and preaching as often as he possibly can in each of the 
churches, and all this without receiving a single farthing in the 
way of salary. And so much concerning the Rev. James 
Hudson. 

But the deepest impression, in spite of the beauty everywhere 
seen, which a journey down the Miramichi is calculated to make, 
arises from the contrast presented by the rich lands of the 
country and the dwarfish or rather youthful appearance of the 
forest trees. In accounting for this, the older inhabitants will 
enter upon the oft repeated story of the great fire which in the 
year 1826 reduced to ashes some six thousand square miles of 
the fairest portion of New Brunswick, and fell particularly 
heavy upon the valley of the Miramichi. An eye-witness who 
resided on the river at the time, has furnished me with the 
following particulars respecting the calamity. The summer of 
1825 was unusually warm and dry, and between July and Oc- 
^ber the smoke of burning forests arose in many portions of 
the upper province. These fires were not unusual, and for a 
time excited no apprehensions. But on the first of October an 
unnatural heat began to be felt all along the valley of the river, 
and on the sixth of th9 same month, the inhabitants were 
alarmed by the fitful appearance of immense sheets of flame in 
their immediate vicinity, while to their ears came the sound of 
falling trees, and a hoarse, rumbling sound, resembling distant 
thunder. On the seventh day the prevailing heat was*oppres- 
sive and suffocating ; and while in the morning a pale, sickly 
mist seemed to canopy the land, in the afternoon it was suc- 
ceeded by an immense pall of vapor. Immediately on the river 
a gloomy silence prevailed, while the surrounding woods were 
in the greatest commotion. As night came on, a fiery zone 
seemed to encircle the land, and the air became filled with 



22 THE RIVERS ST. JOHN AND MIRAMIOHI. 

flaming brands and leaves, and as the roar of conflicting ele- 
ments increased — ^for now a hurricane swept the hissing forests 
and lashed the river into fury — ^the horrors of the scene were 
increased by the crying and wailing of the inhabitants. The 
suffering and misery which followed can be better imagined 
than described. The fearful element accomplished its mission, 
and the entire country was one wide scene of blackened desola- 
tion. The number of persons who lost their lives by fire and 
water during the calamity was one hundred and sixty; buildings 
destroyed, about six hundred ; cattle, nine hundred ; and the 
total loss of personal property amounted to some two hundred 
and twenty-eight thousand pounds, including several entire vil- 
lages. The destruction of timber was irreparable,- and the 
effect upon the forest animals is felt at the present day in their 
great scarcity throughout the entire region. The sympathies 
of th^ humane, both in England and the United States, were 
excited in behalf of the sufferers in the Province, and a large 
amount of provisions and clothing was promptly forwarded to 
their relief. The cash subscriptions, as ofiScially made known 
at the time, amounted to twenty-two thousand pounds, of which 
sum, about eighteen thousand pounds came from the United 
States. 

The road from Miramichi to this place, (as it did all the waj| 
from Fredericton to Miramichi,) runs for the most part through 
what is known as the Burnt District, but is, nevertheless, quite 
agreeable. It is crossed by a number of beautiful streams, 
abounding in three to five-pound trott as well as salmon, where 
the angler can tire himself out with fly-fishing in a single day. 
The only one of these. I had an opportunity of trying was the 
Tdbasintacy and as I here threw my first fiy for the season, the 
luck I wijoyed excited me beyond measure. I only fished for 
a single hour, — ^while our horses were being fed and watered, — 
and caught about a dozen common trout — not sea trout — the 
four largest weighing three and a half, three, two and a half, 
and two pounds each. I took them with the common red hackle, 
and in one pool, in the presence of my lady companions, and 
within twenty yards of the cabin where our horses where feed- 



THB RIVBR8 8T. JOHN AKD MIRAMIOHI. 



93 



iBg. The scenery of the road in question is monotonous, but 
interesting on acconnt of its primitive character ; but as we 
approached the great basin of the Bay of Chaleur the prospect 
suddenly expanded into a wilderness of mountains, flanked by 
a marine yiew, which, when it first burst upon us as the sun was 
setting, was truly magnificent. 

Before closing this letter, I ought to mention the fact that 
those who fancy stage-coach travelling will find the land route 
from St. John to the Miramichi, by way of the Bend, full of 
interest and quite comfortable. The time required to perform 
it is three days, and the first day's drive reveals to view a 
country abounding in arcadian charms called Sussex Yale; 
while the second day will bring the traveller to the small town 
but fine harbor of Shediac, where oyster-beds are inexhausti- 
ble ; and the third day will take him through the flourishing 
ship-building port of Bichibucto, in the vicinity of which it is 
asserted, Sebastian Cabot landed, on the main shore of this 
continent, in 1495. 



THE RIVER NIPISIGUIT. 



A PLEASAI7T and novel town^ indeed, is this out-of-the-waj 
Bathorsty whereof I am nbw to give a brief description. It is 
built npon two points of land, at the mouth of four rivers, the 
Nipisiguit, the Middle, the Little, and the Tootoogoose rivers, 
and at the head of a handsome but shallow bay. This sheet of 
water, from many points of view, resembles an inland lake, and 
is spanned by a well-constructed bridge half a mile in length. 
The harbor of Bathurst is secure for the smaller vessels of the 
coast, while those drawing more than twelve feet of water find 
a safe anchorage outside a bar which lies at the mouth of the 
bay. The town contains some six hundred inhabitants, and 
four churches, whose spires help to give it an attractive ap- 
pearance. It has three ship-yards, from which are annually 
launched from five to ten handsome square-rigged vessels, and 
a very extensive lumbering establishment, belonging to Messrs. 
John and Francis Ferguson. The neighboring lands are well 
cultivated, and the scenery, in every direction, is exceedingly 
interesting. Next to lumber, its chief exportations are fish and 
a species of valuable grind-stone, as well as a good quality of 
slate ; and I should imagine that its resources, in all these par- 
ticulars, would give profitable employment to a large amount 
of capital. Its more influential inhabitants are English and 
Scotch ; and I can say of them, that they are polite, intelli- 
gent, and accomplished to an uncommon degree, and a warm- 
hearted hospitality seems to be a part of their religion. It is 
also well supplied (and what North American town is not) with 
the sons and daughters of Erin, while the choppers of wood 



THE BIVSB NIPISieUIT. 25 

and the people of the water are Acadian French. The first 
white man who is said to have set his foot upon its soil was a 
French fisherman or walrus hunter, named Jean Jacques Enaud, 
and this he did as early as the year 1638. It is said he was 
married here to a Mohawk woman of distinction,. and that, in 
oooseqoence of some private pique, he was murdered by one of 
her brothers. At that period, the spot which it now occupies was 
the headquarters of the Micmao Indians, by whom their village 
was named Winkkapiguwick, which subsequently degenerated 
into Nipifliguit, or the place of troubled waters. During the 
dominion of the French it was known as St. Peter, and the 
name which it now glories in is that of one of the most honored 
of the Colonial Secretaries of Great Britain. Its hotel accom- 
modations might be improved, and ought to be without any 
delay (for the home of the stranger, in a foreign land ought 
always, for the sake of that land, to be comfortable and agree- 
able ;) but, on account of its scenery, its healthfulness, excel- 
lent society, and especially its manifold piscatorial attractions, 
it is a place dewving a world-wide reputation. 

As before intimated, the entire region of country lying on the 
Atlantic Coast of New Brunswick was originally inhabited by 
the Micmac Indians, and the people whose hunting-grounds 
joined theirs at the Bay of Chaleur were the Mohawks. These 
two nations were originally, and for many years, upon the most 
friendly terms with .each other. On the very spot where I am 
now writing they often smoked the pipe of peace together ; but 
in process of time, as the local tradition runs, a quarrel took 
place between them, which the shedding of much blood could 
not reconcile. It originated in the fact that two boys, a Mic- 
mac and a Mohawk, fell out with each other while shooting at 
a target with a bow and arrow, and had a severe fight. The 
fathers of the boys took up the quarrel, and as they could not 
settle it, the two nations took it up, when a severe conflict 
transpired. The Mohawks were beaten, and. retreated to the 
Restigouche, some sixty miles further north. Another battle 
took place on that river, and the Mohawks were again van- 
quished. They retreated into "the interior and again concen- 

YOU IL- 



26 THE RIVER NIPISIGUIT. 

trated their forces, but at midnight the Micmacs fell unexpect- 
edly upon them, and the small remnant left to relate the story 
of their extinction as a nation made their way to Canada, and 
the Micmacs were the sole masters of their immense hunting- 
grounds. ' 

Of the four rivers which help to make Bathurst an attractive 
place, the Little and Middle rivers are chiefly interesting for 
their wildness and good trout-fishing, but the Tootoogoose — 
which in the Indian tongue, means the river of the fairies — ^is 
exceedingly beautiful. It is twenty-five miles long, winding in 
its course, and runs over a rocky bottom ; it has also two or 
three picturesque rapids and falls, and afibrds first-rate trout 
and tolerably good salmon-fishing.^ And then again along its 
banks is to be found in abundance the curious plant called 
Myrica Ceriferay which yields a whitish wax, out of which the 
Acadians make a very good candle. 

But the Nipisiguit is by far the most splendid river in this 
region, and for salmon-fishing, with the fly, I suppose it has 
not its superior in the world. It rises in the |^e Alpine wil- 
derness which gives birth to the Tobique, (a tributary of the 
St. John, and most successful rival in point of beauty,) and its 
length is one hundred miles. It is marvelously clear, and 
runs with great rapidity — ^for the first half of its length over 
a granite bed,. and thence to the sea, with two or three granite 
exceptions, over a calcareous formation. It may be well ima- 
gined, therefore, that it is by no means a monotonous stream. 
Aside from the gloom and grandeur of the mountain scenery 
at its source, and from its many lovely tributaries, it boasts of 
falls and rapids which are interesting in the extreme, and it is 
from these that it derives its name of Nipisiguit or Foamy 
Hiver. 

Twenty miles from Bathurst are the Great Falls, which it 
would seem Nature had deemed so beautiful that she encased 
them in flint and granite. For miles, above and below the 
^' jumping-ofi' place," the river is very much contracted, and 
the banks rocky and perpendicular. The total height of these 
falls is one hundred and forty feet, the leaps consisting of four, 



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THB BIYBB NIPISiaUIT. 27 

the last two only being visible from below ; at the foot of each 
are deep basins, and below them for about a mile, a number of 
pools and rapids, whose gloomy but fascinating features are 
greatly enhanced by the prevailing roar, and by the blending 
together in some places of the black water with the white foam. 
The cliffs on either side are crowned with dense foliage, kept 
particularly grdbn by the spray immediately at the falls, and 
affording a delightful retreat for the birds. But, while the 
Great Falls can never fail to delight the artist and poet, they 
are a great bug-bear to the lumbermen, whose logs and neatly- 
hewn timber they frequently curtail of their proportions, and 
not unfrequently wholly destroy, while passing through the 
chasm. After escaping from the gorge below the Grand Falls, 
the Nipisiguit pursues a quiet course between low banks for a 
little more than three miles, when it tumbles over a succession of 
ridges called the Chain of Rocks ; and three or four miles still 
further down, is another charming spot known as the Middle 
Landing. Just below this spot there is a splendid pool with a 
charming rocky island in it, called Betahoc or Rock Island in 
the Long Pool, and a pleasanter camping-ground could hardly 
be imagined. The scenery at these several localities is by no 
means imposing, but it is full of interest to those who love the 
wayward and fantastic play of the purest waters, and all those 
indescribable charms peculiar to the lone wilderness. 

And then agaiif some seven miles from Bathurst we have 
what are called the Papineau, or Cranberry Falls, which consist 
of a series of schutes and small falls, declining perhaps within 
the space of half a mile, at an angle of thirty degrees. The 
rocks^ which are a gray granite, frequently present the appear- 
ance of massive masonry, so square and regular are they in 
form, while some isolated blocks look as if they had just been 
prepared for the corner stones of a stupendous^difice. Although 
located in a dense forest, the rocks slope so gently and conve- 
niently, and yet so boldly, to the very margin of the rapids and 
pools, that you can enjoy the various prospects, both up and 
down the river, with great ease and comfort. 

Midway between the Papineau Falls and the mouth of the 



28 THB BITXB NIPISIOUIT; 

ISTipifiignit, there is a long reach of the river known as the 
Bongh Waters, where a number of huge rocky barriers hare 
been thrown across the stream by a convulsion of natur^ 
whereby a gloomy and desolate impression would be produced 
upon the mind, were it not for the superb pools of deep and 
dark water which now and then take the fancy captive, and 
magnetize the nerves of the angler. # 

And now, after a long ^^ beating of the bush/' I come to 
speak of the Nipisiguit as a fly-fishing stream for salmon. In 
this particular it bears the bell beyond all question, so far as 
the easily accessible rivers of North America are concerned. 
In June the mouth of it abounds in the white or sea trout, and 
the whole river throughout all the year in the common trout, 
varying from eight ounces to three pounds in weight, whidi 
afford first-rate sport in their way ; but when the angler is in- 
formed that the salmon are running, it is hard to think of any* 
thing but salmon fishing exclusively. 

These fish are taken in the bay of Bathurst with nets as early 
as the month of May, but they do not ascend the Nipisiguit ir 
any numbers until about the 20th of June ; and from that time 
to the 20th of August the angler may, with an occasional rain 
enjoy uninterrupted sport ; but his harvest time is from the 
20th of July to the 10th of August. The first run of fisb 
usually consists of females alone ; after which they are accom^ 
panied by the males, and in August come the grilse or salmon 
weighing under five pounds. They are sometimes so abundant, 
I am informed, that in the resting pools just below the swift 
waters or falls, they have been hooked up with the common 
gaff — indeed, I have myself had opportunities of killing the 
salmon in this manner ; and the older fishermen on the river 
concur in mentioning the fact that the salmon run up the river 
in schools ; that t}ie larger fish always swim together, and the 
smaller ones by tnemselves also. Although netted to a con- 
siderable extent, along the bay of Bathurst and the lower part 
of the river, there is but little done in the way of exporting 
them, excepting by the house of Wm. Underwood & Co., of 
Boston, who have an establishment here for the purpose of her* 



THS BIVB& IXmBlQJJJX* 29 

metically sealing tbem in tin canfl, whereby they are exported 
to the foiar qnarters of the globe. Thanks to the newly-awak- 
ened anthorities of the Province, some little attention is begin** 
ning to be paid to the fishing laws, for on the rapid portions of 
tike river the netting and spearing of salmon are well nigh pre* 
vented, though not quite, excepting by the few Indians located 
in the vicinity ; and so much has been said and written about tak- 
mg them out of season on their spawning beds, that this villain- 
ons practice is going oat of repnte. As an economist, and espe- 
cially as an angler, I am bonnd to condemn the mode of taking 
salmoB with the spear ; but as an artist, or rather when in an 
srtistie mood, J could forget to be rigid, and perhaps recom- 
mend the practice; for, indeed, there are few scenes more in- 
teresting to witness than the mouth of the Nipisiguit on a quiet 
night, when there are perhaps a dozen birch canoes floating 
over the quiet waters, manned by fantastically-dressed Indians, 
and*each one led, it would appear, from place to place, by a 
brilliant birch-bark flambeau. The light canoes, the picturesque 
attitude of the spearmen, the gloom of the night and the silence 
of the surrounding wilderness, seem all to be in complete keep- 
ing, and inspire thoughts and feelings of a peculiar but agree- 
able nature. 

The salmon of the Nipisiguit ascend no higher up the stream 
than the Grand Falls, where during the better part of the sea- 
son, by those disposed to live in their own camp, and be ever 
prq)ared to fight the bears and wolves, the very best sport may 
be enjoyed. The uppermost pool which the salmon reach is 
quite large, but from the perpendicular nature of the rocky 
walls on either side, it is a most difficult place to throw the fiy» 
Indeed it does not afford more than one good cast, but owing to 
ibe abundance of fish, three, or even four, gentlemanly anglers 
can occupy it within the same hour, by '^ taking turns," with 
decided satisfaction. The tail of this pool, just above where it 
tumbles over a rocky ledge, is supposed never to be without a 
salmon, and I know that from one point of view, I have seen 
more of the magnificent creatures than I could count, basking 
gloriously in their bed of amber. As the lands in this vicinity 



30 THE RIYEB NIPISIGUIT. 

all belong to government, the only acknowledged right to a 
fishing cast is that of occupation, and I am happy to say that 
among the few anglers who habitually visit the Nipisiguit, there 
is a spirit of honest civility prevailing quite novel and gratify- 
ing. Not more than half a dozen persons have yet done much 
in the way of angling at the Grand Falls, and the most succes- 
ful and persevering one of all, by far, comes all the way from 
England to throw the fly at this very spot, and during the sea- 
son of 1850 captured no less than three hundred and twenty 
salmon and grilse within the space of two months. The angler 
i^ho would do a good business at the Grand Falls, must be well 
prepared. His first business, after reaching Bathurst, will be 
to secure a canoe, manned by two men, into which he must 
transfer his luggage, and ascend the river. On arriving at the 
Falls he will pitch a water-proof tent, or be content with a bark 
one, and have everything so snugly arranged that he may sle^p 
' in a hammock, eat on a rude table, and, with the assistance of 
a good cook and an a' ndance of liquid luxuries, he and his 
companion, if he takes one with him, cannot fail to have a de- 
cidedly comfortable time. When the men are not needed to 
help him in his fishing, they may go forth and trap a bear or 
shoot a stray cariboo for the purpose of adding to his larder. 
After this manner he may not only live for a few weeks in a 
novel and healthful manner, but be always ready to profit by 
the early morning, and the dusk of evening, in throwing the 
fly. Better sport, I am confident, than may be and has been 
enjoyed at the Grand Falls, is never experienced in any coun- 
try — ^not even by the anglers in the Namsen in Norway, the 
Findhorn or Tweed in Scotland, or the Godabout on the coast 
of Labrador. Although the Grand Falls afibrd the best sport 
on this river, the man who could not enjoy himself for a week 
or fortnight at the pools below the Falls, at the Chain of Bocks, 
and the Middle Landing, must indeed be hard to please. In 
fishing at all these places, canoes and good men, and camping 
out are requisite. 

But a more accessible spot to kill salmon than the above 
places is at the Papineau Falls. There is a passable road lead- 



THE RIVEE NIPISiaUIT. 81 

ing to them from Batharst, and those who only propose to 
devote a few days to salmon fishing can easily sleep at Bathurst, 
•nd by rising quite early, can ride to the fishing-ground in good 
season. The best companion for the stranger to take with 
him on these expeditions is Richard Henderson, an intelligent 
and kind-hearted old Scotchman, who lives in a log-cabin di- 
rectly on the road leading to the Falls. A camp built of logs, 
and having a bark roof, is the domicil in vogue at this point ; 
and my preference for this mode of making one comfortable 
while in the woods has been manifested by my having one built 
for my especial use at the four fishing grounds already men- 
tioned. My first caipp at the Grand Falls was at the foot of a 
cliff and within a few feet of the water, but I had a second one 
erected on the summit of the same cliff, while that at the Papi- 
neau Falls occupies an elevated and romantic position, directly 
ill the midst of a sweet smelling grove of pine and spruce trees 
and commands a view of the entire series of falls. Directly at ' 
the foot of it is a schute, across which a fly can be easily thrown 
which is to my mind the most captivating cast on the river, but 
second best in regard to the number of fish taken, and just 
above and below it, are a couple of the prettiest landings places 
imaginable. But there are at least a dozen good casts for 
salmon in the immediate vicinity of said camp, and there is 
an abundance of room for half a dozen anglers, which is about 
the number who habitually visit the Papineau Falls ; and I can 
only say that when the season is at its height a good angler 
expects to take daily half a dozen salmon and a dozen grilse. 

On my arrival at Bathurst I was informed that the two 
Acadians who had built my first and most spacious camp, ac- 
cording to a letter that preceded me, had been much annoyed 
by a person named William Oillmore, who pretended to possess 
the exclusive privilege of fishing at the Falls, where he had 
kept a camp for years. I learned further, that when he discovered 
my men building a new camp, he threatened to shoot them, 
whereupon they had him arrested and put in prison. I arrived 
in Batharst the day after he had been liberated on bail. He 
was represented to me as a desperate man, and I was told to 



82 THB RIVBB NIPISIGUrr. 

look oat for my life when I visited the Falls. I was of course, 
provoked and troubled at all this ; but when farther informed that 
Gillmore was the best angler who had ever fished in the Nipiai* 
guit, that he made a capital fi j, that he was a native of Dublin, 
came of a good family, had once been in affluenee and an 
officer in the British army, that Gillmore was probably not his 
real name, that important points in his history were invol- 
ved in mystery, that he had received a thorough education, 
and was now a schoolmaster, teaching only in the winter, 
however, and fishing at the Falls all summer, and that 
he had latterly been addicted to intemperance, my feelings 
were entirely changed, and I at once felt^a peculiar interest in 
his welfare. I immediately visited his camp, and found him 
lying on a bed of spruce boughs and rags. I mentioned my 
name, and spoke kindly to him. He gave me the whole history 
of his troubles with the Frenchmen ; and stated that he was in- 
toxicated at the time, and that he only intended to frighten 
them, and thereby prevent them from illegally spearing salmon 
by torch-light. 

He spoke of his imprisonment, for even two days, in the most 
humiliating manner, and added that if the court which was to 
try him should send him to jail again, he could never come out 
alive. I found him the mere wreck of a large and handsome 
man, and noticed with anxiety that he was constantly pressing 
his left side with his hands, and conversed with difficulty. In 
spite of this, he spoke to me in the kindest manner, using the 
very best of language ; and when I told him I would intercede 
with the authorities in Bathurst to have him released from bail, 
and would assist him in other particulars, his eyes brightened 
to an unnatural brilliancy, and he said he had six dozen flies, 
and though they were all the property he possessed in the world, 
I should have them all; and that in a day or two he expected 
to be quite well, and would introduce me to the best pools in 
the river,, and devote himself exclusively to my interests. I 
complied with my promise to interfere in his behalf; and hav- 
ing succeeded, went up to his cabin to give him the good news ; 
but on opening the dooir I found him dead. He lay upon the 



TEE RIYXB KIPISIGinT. 88 

gronndy on « bed of rags, and a Iialf*fainished, sickly little girl, 
nith an angelic countenance, was the sole watcher beside his 
corse. She iras the daughter of a poor but kind-hearted neigh- 
bor, who had gone to Batharst to obtain a coffin for the dead 
angler and sefaoolmaster : and this worthy man* informed me 
that among the very last words which the departed man had 
uttered in his ear were these : ^^ Don't forget to give my flies 
to the stranger, for he is my friend ; and tell him to remember 
the flat rock." The spot alluded to was the schnte already 
mentioned, and it ought hereafter to be known as Oillmore's 
Cast. At the expense and by the hands of strangers was the 
dead angler buried. 

On visiting his camp, (which is built of logs and bark, and 
on the most picturesque spot at the falls,) the day after his 
bmrial, I found the rude fire-place black and comfortless, and 
on the ground, carelessly lying, a small bag of meal, a pair of 
wading boots, a rude fishing-rod, and a bag of tackle, two or 
three rags spread on spruce boughs for a bed, a tin cup and 
pan, and a common jug half filled with molasses. And this 
was the death-place of one who was bom to a handsome in- 
heritance, had a superior intellect, had been the favorite of 
more jolly messes than Charles Lever himself^ and died in the 
most abject poverty. The last place where he taught school 
was on Heron Island, in the Bay of Ohaleur, and his income 
therefrom had been twenty-five pounds currency per annum, 
which was paid him by the government of the Province. And 
now in his own forest sanctuary lies the unmarked grave of the 
^or angler, and the stream that he so fondly loved will mur- 
mur his requiem for evermore. 

From the Papineau Falls to the head of the tide, a distance 
of four miles, the Nipisiguit is quite rapid, and affords a great 
number of good salmon oasts. The chances for sport at the 
rough waters are quite as good at times as any on the river. 
But the best sport is only to be had by employing a birch canoe 
and two men, Frenchmen or Indians. Although these canoes 

* This man hag sfnoe been drowned while crossing the Nipisignit on the 
ioe, which broke from under him while leading a horse across the river. 



34 THE RIVER KIPISIGUrr. 

are exceedingly light and frail, the men who manage them are 
expert, and with their poles will hold a canoe perfectly still, 
even at the head or middle of the swiftest schutes. Excellent 
opportunities are thus afforded for dropping the fly into exactly 
the proper places ; and as you thus have the pleasure of seeing 
mdny fish that you do not capture, have an extensive range, 
take the largest fish, and generally in greater numbers, than 
those who fish from the shore, the interest and excitement of 
canoe fishing are peculiarly agreeable. Although generally re- 
sorted to by those who have been disappointed in finding the 
best pools at the upper and rapid Falls pre-occupied, the greatest 
number of salmon caught in the Nipisiguit in one day by one 
person were taken last summer between the Bough Waters and 
the Papineau Falls. 

The men expect to receive one dollar per day each for their 
services, and when the labor they have to perform is remem- 
bered, and the additional fact that the most unlucky angler can 
count upon at least a brace of fish in a day, the terms cannot 
be deemed extravagant. The best sport I* have enjoyed on this 
river was at the Grand Falls, where I killed three twelve-poun- 
ders within one hour, and that before breakfast, landing them 
all at the same spot, which I designated beforehand. The truth 
is, that he from the States who visits the Nipisiguit for fly-fish- 
ing, must supply himself with a pretty long purse, and an extra 
allowance of patience, on account of the black flies and mus- 
quitoes. The travelling expenses are not unreasonable ; but 
then the distance from New York or Boston is considerable, 
and long before reaching his ultima ihule the angler will in 
fancy have captured quite as many of the peerless beauties of 
the deep as will in reality be afforded to him by the Nipisiguit, 
with all its superior advantages. This remark, I freely con- 
fess, is the result of personal experience. I did not, for want 
of time, kill as many salmon as I expected to kill, and I can 
only say that a couple of barrels, containing about thirty spe- 
cimens, will soon be on its way to the States, there to be en- 
joyed by those of my friends who habitually enjoy my fish, if 
they do not believe my stories. 



THB BIVSB NIPISIGUrr. 85 

Before closing this letter, it is proper that I should say a 
single word about the flies, "which do the best execution on the 
Nipisiguit. They are quite small, with red or yellow bodies, 
and brown or gray wings, and, from the fact that they were 
originally introduced by William Gillmore, they are known in 
this region by his name. And how a single one of these, which 
had killed its dozen salmon, was lost and strangely found,, re- 
mains to be told. The angler was his Excellency Sir Edmund 
Head (a gentleman who sketches and angles with the same 
ability that he governs the province of New Brunswick,) who, 
on one occasion, while at the Papineau Falls, struck a very 
large fish, which carried away, with a part of his rod, the en- 
tire length of a capital line, including leader and fly. About 
a week subsequent to this event, and after his Excellency had 
returned home, William Gillmore caught a salmon, in whose 
mouth was fastened the Governor's fly, and to which was still 
hanging a considerable portion of the lost liAe. The fish was, 
of course, packed in ice, with the fly in his mouth, and trans- 
mitted to Frederickton, to remind Sir Edmund of his misfor- 
tune, and to testify to the attractive qualities of the Gillmoro 

fly. 



THE BAY OF CHALEUR. 



Thb road from Bathurst to the mouth of the Bestigonche, 
where I am now .writing, runs for fifty-two miles directly 
along the southern shofe of La Baide Ghaleurs, or, as the 
English maps have it, the Bay of Ghaleur. Of all the good 
roads I have yet travelled in New Brunswick, this is by far the 
most excellent, and reflects great credit upon the government 
which first built it*, and keeps it in complete repair ; and I can- 
not help mentioning the fact here, that although a very large 
proportion of the province is still in a wild and uncultivated 
condition, the aggregate length of its highways, maintained out 
of the provincial chest, is about fifteen hundred miles. When 
we reflect that the lands are everywhere of the best quality, 
and the climate healthy, it is surprising that the immigration 
hither should not be ten-fold greater than it is. 

In complimenting the road, however, over which I have just 
travelled with so much pleasure, I must not forget the peo- 
ple who have settled upon it. They are composed of French, 
Irish, and Scotch, and I have not talked with a single indivi- 
dual of the latter and most thriving class, whose eyes did not 
quickly brighten at the mere mention of the Highlands of his 
beloved Scotland. They are rough in their manners, but kind- 
hearted, honest, religious, and intelligent to an uncommon 
degree. They work hard, eat their favorite oat-cake, and 
delight in the music of the bagpipe, an instrument which may 
be found in almost every cabin. As we were storm-bound 
soon after leaving Bathurst, we had occasion to spend a night 
in a Scotchman's cabin, which happened to be located very 



7HB BAT OV CHALBUB. 87 

near the shore of the beautiful bay. A cold wind blew fresh 
from the northy and the trampling of the surf was truly grand 
and impressive^ Our supper oonflisted of fresh salmon, brown 
bread, rich milk, and maple Bjrup — all of which sufficiently 
enjoyable ; but then the hour that we subsequcQtly spent, talk- 
ing with the family in the kitchen, was something to be remem* 
bered with peculiar pleasure. The fire-place was at least eight 
feet broad and five high, and was filled with blazing and hissing 
wood, whereby the room was illumined with a glowing light 
that made the fireside group particularly interesting. Here in 
one comer sat the stalwart farming inn-keeper, with his coat 
off, quietly smoking his pipe and talking with three or four 
hired men, who were occupying a bendh in the shadow of the 
ohimney ; and in the opposite corner his wife was holding in 
her lap a pair of bright-eyed children, while the tidy and happy 
looking grandmother was amusing some of the older children 
with a story of the Covenanters. Rude, as the world would 
say, was the cabin and its scanty furniture, but then the words 
of the Bible and the voice of sincere prayer nightly echoed 
among its brown rafters; and on the night in question, to my 
mind, those sounds rendered agreeable even the moaning of 
the wind and the washing' of the waves upon the neighboring 
shore. 

As a general thing, however, the habitations along the Bay 
of Chaleur are exceedingly rude and comfortless ; and yet it 
was pleasant to observe the first advances of civilized man up- 
on the borders of this great forest world. One after another 
did we pass solitary log cabins or shanties standing in the cen- 
tre of a small clearing^ so called, but covered with whole regi- 
ments of blackened stumps, between which you could almost 
count the scattered spires of the growing grain ; and close be- 
side each cabin was usually standing the shed of a poor, un- 
happy-looking horse and cow, a sty for a melancholy pig, and 
a pine box for the accommodation of a few harmonizing chickens 
and ducks, while here and there might be seen the implements 
that were to make the wilderness blossom like the rose — the 
plottgh| the scythe, the shovel, and the hoe. 



38 THB BAT OF GHALEUR. 

Few, and far between, were the travellers that we met on our 
way up the Bay of Chaleur. The only two that attracted our 
attention were a pedler of quack medicines, and a victim of 
New Brunswick leprosy. The first was from Maine, and pos- 
sessed all the impudence and cunning of his tribe; and though 
decidedly a smart man, he was not sufficiently so to shield from 
even the casual observer the darker shades of his character. 
When informed (at the inn where we stopped) tjiat I was frpm 
the States, he immediately introduced himself to me, became 
very officious, and talked very knowingly about a thousand 
things and men. He told me that he dealt in nothing but 
quack medicines, and professed to have made a fortune out of 
the isolated and illiterate people of this region, whom he men-, 
tioned with a sneer, because of their confidence in his promises 
and despicable merchandise. His equipage consisted of a 
very large and handsomely painted box-wagon, with a most 
luxurious seat, and drawn by a span of superior black horses. 
I felt provoked with the people for harboring in their midst such 
a miserable tradesman ; but when I remember that some of the 
wealthiest men in our large cities were persons of the same 
kidney, I ceased to wonder that the poor Acadians, and Irish 
of this region should becopie the dupes of designing quackery. 

The other traveller alluded to was a sick Acadian, who, in a 
one-horse cart, driven by his son, was on his way to Bathurst, 
and thence to a singular hospital for the cure of a species of 
leprosy, located on the Tracadie river, further to the eastward. 
My first thought on meeting him was, that he had fallen into 
the clutches of the Yankee already mentioned; but I soon 
discovered that he was the victim of a veritable disease, the 
exact character of which has never been decided upon, although 
the opinion prevails that it is closely allied to the leprosy of 
the ancienta. The man in question was more frightened than 
hurt, although he pretended to have the usual symptoms of 
the disease^ viz : a discolored skin, swollen features, with acute 
pain and stiffness in the extremities ; but when informed that 
the efiect of the disease was to cause the fingers and toes to 
drop off, and, before shattering the body to death, of making 



THE BAY OF CHALEUB. 39 

it exceedingly loathsome to the eye, I could not wonder that 
the supposed victim was alarmed. The hospital in question 
was established by the provincial government, upon the strength 
of a report made by a board of commissioners, who declared 
• the disease incurable and contagious, but which conclusion has 
recently been combated by a Canadian physician, who is re- 
ported, beyond all doubt, to have relieved the sufferers, and 
repeatedly effected cures. In his opinion, I am informed, the 
disease is only the natural result of licentiousBess, and there- 
fore confined to families, who have none to blame for their mis- 
fortune but themselves. Is not this the same disease that we 
read of as existing in Greenland and Norway, and supposed to 
originate from the excessive use of fish* diet. 

The general healthfulness of New Brunswick is proverbial. 
Prudent people attain to a good old age ; and although the 
winters are long, the air is usually dry, and the cold bracing 
— while the summers, though short, are delightful. And here 
by way of illustrating the salutary influences of the Chaleur 
sea-breezes, and also the godhead aetiveness of the American 
character, I must mention the following circumstance. In 
every cabin where we stopped, I was attracted by the large 
number of children ; for in one Scotchman's dwelling we found 
ten, in another eleven, in another thirteen, .and in another 
fourteen* children. But how was our surprise subsequently 
enhanced by learning, from the lips of a most charming French 
lady, that she had been married nine years and gloried in nine 
beautiful children ; and from another person of the same blood, 
that she was the.mother of nineteen children. Here was a 
startling development, indeed ; but when we stumbled upon a 
log cabin where dwelt a native of the United States, whose wife 
was an Irish woman, and learned that the happy pair were the 
parents of twenty-five children, (fourteen of whom with the 
father, had recently been baptized at onetime,) we became most 
deeply impressed with the healthfulness of New Brunswick, and 
convinced, that by all mea]^s, and at every hazard, the fisheries 
of the province, as well as all other varieties of food, ought to 
be protected with the most jealous care. 



40 THE BAT OF CHALBUR. 

On my way up the Bay of Chaleur, I had an opportunity of 
purchasing of a French hunter the skins of a cariboo and a 
bear, and from the same hunter I also obtained the following 
particulars respecting the game of this portion of New Bruns- 
wick. The Moose is the largest and most valuable among the , 
quadrupeds, attaining sometimes the weight of fifteen hundred 
pounds. He obtains his name from the Milicete word MooiUf 
although the Micmac's call him teeam. By the native hunters 
he is killed after -the following fashions : — in the winter by means 
of "creeping" upon him when in deep snow, — ^in the autumn 
and at night, by "calling," and then again with the assistance 
of dogs. He attains his full vigor in the autumn, and it is 
then that his massive antlers sometimes weigh as much as sixty 
pounds. At the present time they are found in the greatest 
numbers on the head waters of the St. John and Restigouche, 
in heavily timbered land. The Cariboo or Reindeer of America 
are also found in considerable numbers, though not so abundant 
as formerly. Their favorite haunts during the winter are the 
plains or mossy bogs which here and there slope down to the 
sea, and where they form their "yards," and feed upon the bay 
berry, or laurel, and the tender twigs and bark of young trees. 
In summer they congregate along the water-courses and around 
the lakes of the interior, where they have an abundance of their 
favorite food, and during the hottest weather, when the* flies are 
troublesome, and their horns are tender, they spend a large 
proportion of their time in the water, which is also true of the 
moose. The flesh of the cariboo is excellent, sweeter and more 
tender than that of the moose ; but the lip of the moose is 
considered a great delicacy. Fallow deer have been known to 
the hunters of the province for only about thirty years, and it is 
thought that they were driven and followed to the eastward from 
Maine by the wolves, which have since at times been numerous 
and destructive to the husbandman's cattle. At the present 
time the black bear is the most annoying animal in the region^ 
and from five to eight hundred are annually killed throughout 
the province, the principal motive for hunting them, next to 
their skins, being a bounty of three dollars for every " bear's 



THE BAT OF CHALEUR. 41 

nose." In the more remote parts of the country beavers are 
still trapped to a limited extent, but all the riyers abound in 
the otter, whose depredations upon the salmon are occasionally 
extensiye. The lynx, black cat, and all the smaller fur animals 
peculiar to the latitude, are still unlimited and trapped with 
profit; but the lumbering business is gradually diminishing 
their numbers. Of game land-birds, the partridge is the most 
abundant, while the quail is uncommon, and the woodcock and 
snipe are entirely new comers, and as yet found only in the 
cultivated districts of the lower province. In the way of val- 
uable water-birds, such as the wild goose, the brant, the teal, 
the coot, and several varieties of the duck, the entire coast of 
New Brunswick is exceedingly fruitful. Their habits have been 
described to me as very much alike, and exceedingly interesting. 
In flying along the coast, whether going to the south in autumn 
or returning in the spring, they invariably fly from headland, 
and with such precision that to kill them from an ambush is a 
very easy matter. So abundant are some of these birds in the 
Say of Ghaleur, that an active man can at times fill his canoe 
in a few hours. And I may mention in this connection, that 
one of the famous hunters in this region, both for birds and 
quadrupeds, is a Micmac Indian, named Poulois^ who is both 
deaf and dumb, but whose exploits are often narrated with 
wonder even In the cabins and the camps of his native wilder- 
ness. 

But the great charm of the ride between Bathurst and this 
place is the superb Bay of Chaleur, whose waters and sur- 
rounding mountains are constantly in view. As we did not 
happen to see a single vessel on the wing during a leisurely jour- 
ney of two days, the idea of loneliness which the broad expanse 
suggested was impressive, but on account of its novelty, really 
delightful. On the shore the quiet of the wilderness was only 
disturbed by the singing of the birds, and from the sea, when 
the wind was blowing, came no sound but the murmur of 
the waves, and, when a calm prevailed, the occasional shrieking 
of a gull. The aboriginal name of the Bay of Ghaleur was 
Ecketam Nemaachi, or the Sea of Fish. Its entire length is 

VOL. II. — D 



42 THE BAY OF CHALEUR. 

about ninety, and its width from twenty to thirty miles, and 
with the river Restigouche, which comes into it from the west, 
it forms the dividing line between Lower Canada and New 
Brunswick. A wild, rugged and picturesque mountain land, 
known only to hunters and lumbermen, bounds it on the north ; 
while on the south side the interior of the country is rather 
low and almost as little known although the immediate shore 
is sparsely settled, somewhat elevated, and occasionally iron 
bound. The whole bay may be considered one immense harbor, 
without shoals or rocky reefs, secure from the more stormy 
winds, abounding in fish to a marvelous extent, and receiving 
into its bosom at least a dozen rivers, which run through exten- 
sive tracts of superior and well wooded lands, where limestone, 
granite, coal, gypsum, ochreous earths and many valuable metals 
may be found to an unlimited extent. To particularize the 
undeveloped wealth of this northern land would require vol- 
umes ; and it docs seem to me that the governments of Great 
Britain and the United States are in duty bound to work together 
like brothers, and by their peculiar instrumentalities make this 
wilderness the garden-spot which the God of Nature originally 
designed it to be. 

The islands in the Bay of Ghaleur, and at the mouth of it, 
number not more than half a dozen in all. Shippegan, the 
largest, is twelve miles long, and from three to seven wide. It 
is flat and boggy, and a famous resting place for wild geese, 
which are sometimes slaughtered to such an extent as to be 
salted down for winter use. On the western part there is a 
long sandy beach, in which are imbedded innumerable granite 
boulders, which are said to have been brought by the ice from 
the north shore of the bay, a distance of at least twenty miles. 
The island of Miscou is nine miles long and four miles wide, 
and is also of a swampy character. The above two, with a 
smaller island called Pocksoudia, form a cluster on the southern 
aide of the bay, among which are several superb harbors, and in 
the immediate vicinity of which are the most productive fisheries 
of the bay. Near the north shore, but in the Gulf of St. Law- 
rence, there is an isolated island of solid rock, called the Perc^ 



THB BAY OP CHALEUB. 43 

• 

Bock, irith perpendicular sides, two hundred feet high, narrow, 
zigzag in shape, and jtwelye hundred feet long, in which two 
regular archways have been formed, sufficiently high to admit 
the passage through of a good sized fishing-smack ; and also in 
its immediate yicinity is the small and picturesque island of 
Bonaventure, with inaccessible cliffs on three of its four sides, 
which is a famous^ rendezvous for the^ fishermen of the region. 
The only remaining island worth mentioning is Heron Island, 
near the head of the bay, and is chiefly interesting for having 
been the winter home of William Gillmore, the^ angling school- 
master. 

With regard to the fishy treasures of the Bay of Chaleur, I 
can only say that they are astonishingly abundant. The houses 
designating the localities where they are chiefly taken are 
called '^ rooms," and the business done by a very few com- 
panies is very extensive. One of them, located on the south 
shore, has been engaged in the business for fifty years, and be- 
sides employing about a thousand men, has been in the habit 
of annually building a ship to send to Europe, during all this 
time, as a kind of memento of its success. •As early as the year 
1635, there was established at the mouth of the bay the ^' Royal 
Company of Miscou," at the head of which was the king of 
France. It was intended to carry on the fur trade and fisheries, 
but the principal animal it captured was the walrus — then very 
abundant, but now extinct — which was valuable on account of 
its oil, skin, and ivory tusks. And it is said that some of the 
finest palaces in France were built with funds realized from the 
capture of this animal by the early French fishermen ; the re- 
mains of the buildings erected by this company may still be 
seen on the island of Miscou. The harvest time for the fisher- 
men of the Bay of Chaleur is from March to September, and 
the great majority of those who fish in those waters are of 
course birds of passage, so that the fleets of ships and brigan- 
tines which come with the opening springs are certain to dis- 
appear before the blasts of autumn. To give an idea of the 
wealth of these northern waters, it may be mentioned that the 
black whale, white porpoise, black seal, the salmon, cod^ sea- 



44 THB BAT OF CHALBUR. 

• 

tront, haddock, herring, halibut, shad, bass, mackerel, capelin, 
ling, and lobster are all found here in immense quantities. But 
while some of these treasures of the sea are seldom or never 
captured, others are only occasionally taken, and those which 
chiefly Bupport the several fisheries are not rendered one- 
twentieth part as profitable as they might bo. The varieties 
which monopolize the present business, ai^ the herring, cod, 
mackerel, and salmon; and the three principal markets to 
which they are now sent are Ireland, the Italian States, and 
Brazil. The jnodes employed in catching all these are of 
course various, but all behind the present progressive age ; and 
that will be a happy day for this region of the world when the 
capital and the smartness of the Yankee race shall be per- 
mitted to develop themselves here. The proverbial dryness of 
the air in this region, and the absence of fogs in the Gulf of 
St. Lawrence, are particularly favorable to the curing of fish, 
in the best manner for distant voyages. 

The first European who visited the Bay of Ghaleur was 
Jacques Cartier, who entered it in 1634, just before discover- 
ing the St. Lawrenee ; and on account of the oppressively hot 
weather which he experienced on the occasion, (for it was mid- 
summer,) he gave it the name, which, when correctly written, 
it now bears. During the dominion of the French, which con- 
tinued until 1692, the surrounding country remained a perfect 
wilderness ; so that the limited cultivation which now adorns 
its shores is the result of British labor and enterprise. The 
first man who visited, in a regular systematic business capacity, 
was a lieutenant in the British na^, named Walker, a Scotch- 
man by birth, and a man of great enterprise. He came over 
about ten years after the capture of Quebec by the British, 
and, after manifest misfortunes, died at Bathurst. Some 
further items with respect to the history of the Bay of Oha^ur 
will be given when the writer comes to ^peak of the river 
Restigouche. 

In closing this letter, I must pay a passing compliment to 
the rivers which empty into the Bay of Chaleur between the 
Nipisiguit and the Bestigouche. They are quite numerous, 



THE BAY OF CHALSUR. 



46 



generally clear as crystal and cold as ice. They all abound 
in the common and white trout, and some of them afford very 
good salmon fishing. The two largest are the Jacquet and 
the Eel rivers. The first is fifty miles long, rich in lumber, 
and has a very good harbor at its mouth. The Eel is about 
the same length, runs through a heavily wooded country, is 
rather sluggish, abounds in the fish which has given it a name, 
and at the mouth of it, on a peculiar sand-bar, is located a 
small Indian village. Between this and the Restigouche are 
some picturesque cliffs of a red conglomerate, and a cluster of 
isolated rocks, which when seen from several points of view, 
and in connection with the expanse of three miles across the 
mouth of the Restigouche, the dreamy alpine land beyond, and 
the broad plain of the Bay of Ghaleur, present one of the most 
splendid and fascinating panoramic prospects to be found on 
the continent of America, and has alone rewarded us for the 
pilgrimage we have made. 



THE RIVER RESTIGOUCHE. 



I HAYS at last reached the River Restigouche. I anticipated 
much, hut so beautiful a river, and such a superb mountain land, 
I did not expect to behold in this out-of-the-way comer of the 
world. When I think of the confused and noisy hum of busi- 
ness from which I have so recently escaped, and fix my mind 
upon what I see and hear, in this region, I am almost inclined 
to believe myself in a land of dreams. Hardly could this be 
otherwise, since there is above me a rosy sky, around me, far 
as the eye can reach, blue mountains without number, and at 
my feet a floM of purest emerald ; while the human voices 
which fall upon my ear in kindly and pleasant words, from 
stranger lips, as well as the caroling of multitudinous birds, seem 
attuned to the surrounding loveliness. I am indeed delighted ; 
and so, too, are 'my companions, who have already quite for- 
gotten, in their newly-awakened feelings, the fatigue of our long 
journey. • 

At, its entrance into the Bay of Chaleur, between Point 
Magashua on the north, and the Bon Amie Rocks on the south, 
the Restigouche, or river like a hand, (so called from having 
five leading tributaries,) is three miles wide, and from that point 
to the head of the tide, a distance of twenty miles, it maintains 
a breadth, in general terms, of two miles, thereby affording one 
immense haven where the frigates of the world might sail in 
perfect security. From the head of the tide to its extreme 
source, near Lake Timiscouta, the distance is two hundred 
miles, and the main river, with its tributaries, is said to drain 
about six thousand square miles of territory. The five leading 



THB RIVEB RBSTIGOUGHEt 47 

branches, which give it its name, vary from fifty to seventy 
miles in length, and are known by the novel names of Mata- 
pediac, or Musical river; Upsalquitch, or Blanket river; 
Wetomkegewick, or Large river; Mistouche, or Little river; 
and Waagan, or Knife river; and it is a remarkable circum- 
stance that not one of these extensive water-courses, though all 
rocky and rapid, can boast of a single water-fall worth mention- 
ing. The only thing approaching to a fall is an extensive 
Bapid on the Upsalquitch, where, by the way, rare salmon 
fishing may be enjoyed. The great valley thus formed, is 
hemmed in throughout its entire length and breadth with lofty 
mountains, which are covered to their summits with dense 
forests of pine, spruce, elm, birch, and maple, springing out of 
a rich soil, and for the most part still untouched by the grasp- 
ing and mutilating hand of man, while here and there are ex- 
tensive plains of table and interval land of rarest fertility. The 
scenery is everywhere both ^ind and beautiful, but a grandeur 
derived Ifess from clifis and chasms, than from long sweeps of 
outline and multitudinous domes mingling with the clouds. 
Sand-stone, conglomerate granite, or limestone formations occa- 
sionally spring up, however, to delight the eye, and their charms 
are usually enhanced by being surrounded with luxuriant foliage 
or mirrored in the purest water. 

But as my design is to describe the local character of the 
Bestigouche, it will be pleasanter, both for writer and reader, 
that I should turn from generalities to particulars ; and I there- 
fore begin with the charming little town of Dalhousie. It is 
on the south side of the river, two miles from its mouth, and 
though occupying a kind of inclined plane, moderately elevated 
above the water, commandl to the eastward an extensive and 
unobstructive view of the^Bay of Chaleur. The prospect west- 
ward and northward, is that of a large lake surrounded with 
mountains, while directly in front of it, and only a few hundred 
yards from the shore, are three rocky islands lying on a line, 
which resemble at first view a trio of huge whales on their way 
up the river. Immediately in the rear of the town is a high 
ridge of trap rock, called Challefour's Hill, from which the two 



48 THE RIVER RESTI60UCHE. 

water views already mentioned are seen to the greatest possible 
advantage, blended together in one magnificent whole, above 
which, far away to the north, loom high into the sky, the airy- 
like cones of the Tracadegash and other mountains of the dis- 
trict of Gaspe. Twenty-five years ago, the spot where Dal- 
housie now stands was occupied by two solitary log cabins, while 
at the present moment it contains at least one hundred and fifty 
comfortable houses ; and claims a population of one thousand 
souls, the more wealthy and enterprising of whom are from the 
island of Arran. The place derives its chief support from the 
exportation of timber and fish ; and as its principal market is 
Great Britain, its intimacy with the continent to which it 
belongs is quite limited, and hence its isolated and romantic 
character. Indeed, this very state of things holds good in 
regard to the entire Restigouche valley ; so that certain objects 
or facts, which in the United SLiles would be hardly worth 
mentioning, are here invested with a peculiar interest. A ship, 
for example, is by no means a very extraordinary aflFair in any 
country ; but when we came suddenly upon the little town of 
Dalhousie, located in alpine wilderness, and discovered in its 
harbor from forty to sixty square-rigged vessels, we were some- 
what surprised. We soon learned, however, that the object of 
such a fleet was quite plausible, and that every vessel would 
recross the Atlantic laden to the brim with substantial wealth. 
But why this apparent rush of business at the present time ? 
Stern winter is the great ruler of this land, and the winged 
messengers from over the sea know too well that their harvest 
time is of short duration, so they come in flocks, and in flocks 
depart. As a matter of course, therefore, the population of 
Dalhousie at midsummer resembles tlJlit of the hive of the honey 
bee, and both alike spend a quiet winter, and live comfortably 
upon the fruit of their labors. But the foreign ships which 
visit the harbor of Dalhousie are not all which plough the 
waters. Many splendid specimens are built and equipped, as 
well as freighted here ; and I can only say that the men, whose 
enterprise is thus exemplified, are as intelligent, high-minded 
and kind-hearted to strangers as they are liberal and induB- 



THE BIYBR RB6TIGO0GHB* 49 

trioos. And then again, the attractions of Dalhonsie in a geo- 
logical point of riew are worth mentioning. Its original name 
was Sickadomeque, or the place of bright itones and many 
Mhetls, and is itself a capital description of the place ; for on 
the little islands already mentioned, agates and cornelians of 
great beauty abound, and everywhere along the neighboring 
shores, shells, various and rare, as well as many fossil remains, 
may be ^thered by the student of Nature, who loves and can 
appreciate their mute but suggestive language. 

On ascending the Restigouche from Dalhousie, whether by 
land or water, the traveller will be everywhere impressed with 
the manifold charms of its scenery ; and among the more promi- 
nent objects of interest which will attract his attention, at the 
respective distances above the town, of eight, twelve, and 
fourteen miles, will be the several points named Aninnipk, Le 
Garde and Battery Point. Upon all these, as may be gather- 
ed from the older inhabitants of the region, there once stood 
warlike fortifications, but so long ago that their remains are 
almost obliterated by a dense growth of forest trees. The story 
which they recall is this : — ^When, in the autumn of 1760, the 
French were driven from Acadia, or Nova Scotia, the ships in 
which they sailed were hotly pursued by the British ; and in- 
stead of making their " desired haven" which was the river St* 
Lawrence, they accidentally entered the Bay of Chaleur. The 
British pursued them as far as the mouth of the Restigouche ; 
but as winter was nigh at hand, the pursuers abandoned the 
chase and went to England, whije the pursued ascended the 
river, and built themselves cabins upon the shore, as well as the 
three fortifications already mentioned. Early in the following 
spring the British fleet, commanded by Capt. John Byron, of 
Louisbourg memory, returned from England, sailed up the Res- 
tigouche, and with one blow totally destroyed the habitations, 
batteries and vessels of the unfortunate French. Seven skele- 
tons of the destroyed vessels — which numbered some twenty- 
two in all — ^may be seen in the bed of the Restigouche at the 
present day ; and other memorials of this " great victory," in 
the shape of French cannon and swords, pistols, cutlasses, 



50 THE RIVER RESTIOOUCHB. 

militanj buttons, spurs, gun barrels, bayonets, iron pans and 
spoons, may be seen in the possession of the older inhabitants ; 
but the most curious articles recently discovered are a bottle of 
molasses, a small cask of wine, and a number of iron balls, 
found incased in the trunks of certain trees growing on the 
banks of the river. As the tide of good fortune was decidedly 
against France at the time in question — ^for with her defeat on 
the Restigouche terminated her dominion in Acadia and C&nada 
— and as England unquestionably had the advantage in the 
affair, the result was not to be wondered at ; and yfet the victory 
was rendered more complete by the heroism of a British sailor. 
His name has not come down to us, but the deed he performed 
was this : — He was a prisoner on board of* a French ship, and 
while yet the British fleet were at the mouth of the Restigouche 
meditating a plan of attack, he made his escape at night, and, 
with the assistance of a plank, swam a distance of sixteen miles, 
and having boarded one of the ships of his country, marked out 
the exact position of the enemy, and the victory immediately 
followed. 

The next spot of interest that I would mention is the little 
town of Campbellton. It is sixteen miles from Dalhousie, and, 
like that place, is on the New Brunswick side of the river. 
Indeed, the two places are astonishingly alike in many particu- 
lars ; for they do the same business, and contain about the same 
number of inhabitants, of the same character. Campbellton 
has an extensive saw mill which its rival has not ; and it also 
builds the greatest number gf ships, and does more business 
with the lumbermen of the interior, while Dalhousie takes the 

• 

lead in the exportation of fish and timber, and in being sur- 
rounded with more magnificent scenery. The scenery around 
Campbellton, however, is quite novel and beautiful. Immediately 
in its rear, for example, is a mountain glorying in the very 
original name of^ii^arl/oa/, which though only about a thousand 
feet high, yet from its isolated position is quite imposing. It is 
rocky and destitute of trees, and so steep as to be inaccessible 
excepting from one quarter, and dangerous in that ; and the 
view which it commands is exceedingly fine, for it embraces the 



THB BIVEB BBSTIGOUCHB. .51 

very heart of the Resdgonche valley. The summit of the 
mountain was formerly covered with huge boulders, weighing 
several tons each, some of which have been put in motion by 
mischievous hands, and committed sad havoc in the valley 
below, while a sufficient number remain to excite the imagina- 
tion of the geologist, and the wonder of common travellers. 

At the foot of this mountain, and claimed as the leading en- 
rionty of Gampbellton, is the residence of one Thomas Dodd, 
who, for his regal style of living, deserves to be treated with 
marked respect. The said residence, though only about eight 
feet high and thirty long^ has the precise form of a Norman 
castle, with two wings and manifold turrets ; the suite of halls 
or rooms, consist of 'three, in one of which is a stove, in another 
a bed, while the third is used as a reception room. Mr. Dodd 
is an Englishman, about fifty years of age, and a bachelor ; he 
lives entirely alone, feasting perpetually upon the fat of the 
land cooked by his own hand, and having the most uncommon 
fondness for plum-puddings and superior wines, of which he 
keeps a bountiful supply. He is a thorough-going politician, 
feeding this delightful appetite with some half dozen partizan 
journals, and employing the lucid intervals of his intellectual 
life by reading the Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews. His 
every day business, however, is that of ehair making and por- 
trait painting during the winter, 2kndL painting the houses of his 
fellow citizens during the summer. And then, as if to put the 
finishing touch upon this most harmonious character, he cher- 
ishes an insatiable hatred for the Micmac Indians ; which, how- 
ever, by those who have the honor of his acquaintance, is at- 
tributed to the following circumstance : On a certain Christmas 
night, a few years ago, while wending his solitary way over a 
deep snow to his turreted castle, from the village inn, where he 
had probably tajkev^ himself into a state of temporary forgetful- 
ness, he unfortunately fell into a hole; and on coming to his 
senses, he found himself among the kettles of an Indian camp, 
having descended by the channel ordinarily used for the pur- 
pose of giving freedom to the smoke of the wigwam. Ever 
since that event Mr. Dodd has disliked the companionship of 
the Micmac Indians. 



52 THB RIVfiK RESTIOOUCHB. 

Just above Campbellton, but on Ae Canadian side of the 
river, is located the largest settlement of Mictnac Indians now 
remaining in the province of New Brunswick. The reserva- 
tion which they occupy is called Mission Point, and comprises 
about twelve hundred acres of the best land in the Restigouche 
valley, and the owners thereof number three hundred souls. 
Their houses are built of logs, covered with shingles or boards^ 
and are usually provided with chimneys or stoves, and, to a 
limited extent with chairs, and bedsteads. Fishing and hunt- 
ing are the chief employments of the men, although some of 
the more industrious among them pick up a little money by 
lumbering, while the women take pleasure in tilling a garden 
spot, and keeping a cow. Some few of the' men, however, cul- 
tivate small farms, containing from ten to thirty acres, raising 
potatoes, green corn and a little wheat. They are expert, 
managers of the birch canoe, and are almost invariably em- 
ployed by those who visit the interior of the country for busi- 
ness or pleasure. They are a fine looking race and. some of 
the women are beautiful, having remarkably small feet and 
hands. They are devoted followers of the Roman Catholic 
Church, having in the centre of their village quite a respecta- 
ble chapel, with steeple and bell, whose patron is St. Anne. At 
the expense of the Canadian government they are supplied with 
a priest ; but as he cannot speak their language, and they know 
nothing about French, the intercourse between them is chiefly 
carried on by means of an interpreter. The name of this per- 
son is Sam Sucke, and, aside from being a conspicuous member 
of the community on account of his learning, he is remarkable 
for being by birth a cross between the negro and the Indian, 
as well as the chief judge and lawyer in all legal proceedings 
occurring in the village, bell ringer to the chapel, a faithful 
temperance man, a strong wrestler, a good lumberman, a capi- 
tal story teller, and a most expert salmon fisher with the spear. 
But Mr. Sucke is also acknowledged to be extensively informed 
on the subject of the present condition of the Indian race in 
New Brunswick and Lower Canada. He says that there are 
only two tribes now remaining in this region, the Micmacs and 
the Melicites, numbering in all about fifteen hundred souls. 



THX BITEB B1BTI60U0HE. 



&8 



The former speak a dialect of the ancient Iroquois, from whom 
they claim to be descended, and inhabit, as a general thing, the 
aea coaat of the provinces ; while the latter speak a dialect of 
the ancient Delawarea, from whom they are descended, and oc- 
cupy reservations on the interior rivers. The colonial govern- 
ments have made many efforts to ameliorate the condition of 
these people, and, besides, appointing commissioners to guard 
their interest, have occasionally given them money, and granted 
the use of valuable lands. But upon them, as a matter of 
course, and as the titles are not in the Indians, the whites have 
trespassed, cutting down their valuable timber, and occupying 
their most fertile grounds. What wonder, then, that they 
should still retain their idle and wandering habits, and fre- 
quently become familiar with suffering and wretchedness. To 
tills, however, there are exceptions; and some of them occa- 
sionally enjoy a little civilized comfort. Excepting when ad- 
dicted to intemperance, they are inoffensive and kind, and on 
account of their expertness in the mysteries of woodcraft are 
really a very serviceable class of people. The original names 
of these tribes were MickmakU and Mariclieets, and though 
formerly dependent on the Government of Gape Breton, they 
were the aboriginal owners of the whole of Acadia or what is 
now known as New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. 

Notwithstanding the fact that the two tribes of Indians above 
mentioned profess to be on the most friendly terms, and should 
be so in reality, it is quite evident to the careful observer that 
they are somewhat jealous of each other, and a curious incident 
apparently illustrating this has but recently occurred. Busi- 
ness or pleasure had brought a small party of Melicite Indians 
from the valley of St. John to the Bestigouche, and the meet- 
ing which took place between the visitors ajxd the Micmacs was 
managed as follows : The former pulled up their canoes just 
before reaching the outskirts of Mission Point, and, as it hap- 
pened, while in full view of a small party of Micmac citizens, 
and as the latter walked slowly forth to extend a friendly hand, 
the visitors treated them with apparent indifference, and simply 
looked around upon the beautiful scenery, and upwards at the 



54 THE RIVSR BBSTIGOUCHE. 

sky. Both parties then performed a circle in single file and 
approached a few yards nearer each other, and all took another 
quiet look at the scenery and the sky.* This movepent was 
repeated three several times, until the 4)arties had approached 
within speaking distance, when they mutually came to a halt, 
and looked earnestly into each other's countenances as if to 
read the intentiond depicted there.. Another circle was per- 
formed, but now only by the visitors, and a smile of recognition 
was exchanged ; another circle, and kindly words were spoken ; 
another still, when there followed a general and hearty shaking 
of hands, with much talking and laughing, and the climax was 
capped by a miscellaneous display in the way of embracing, 
and kissing, and so the ceremony ended. 

To expatiate scientifically upon the native language of the 
New Brunswick Indians is neither to my taste nor in my power, 
but as they have a decidedly original method of speaking the 
English language, I will play the part of a reporter, and tran- 
scribe the narrative of a snufi'-taking personage touching his 
encounter with a bear, which is as follows : " One time I go 
hunting moose, night come dark, rain and snow come fast ; no 
axe for makum wigwam ; gun vet, no get um fire ; me tired, 
me crawl into hollow tree ; me find plenty room, almost begin 
sleep. By and by me feelum hot wind blow on my face ; me 
know hot bear's breath. He crawl into log too, me takum gun, 
she no go ; me think me all same gone, all eat up. Then me 
takum snuff and throw um in bear's face, and he run out ; not 
very much like um, me guess. Me lay still all night, he no 
come again. Every leetle while hear cough ; every time bear 
he cough um sneezum, over and over a great many times. 
Morning come, me fix um gun, and shoot um dead ; he no more 
cough um sneezum." 

And now, having crossed the Restigouche from Mission 
Point, (at the very spot, by the way, where only a few weeks 
ago, five out of seven poor Indians, including two women, lost 
their lives while crossing in a rotten canoe,) the reader will 
allow me the pleasure of introducing him to Athol House, a 
place most worthyto be loved and long remembered. The spot 



THB BIYBB BESTiaOUGHB. 55 

in question is three miles from Campbellton, and directly on 
the river, and consists of a large and commodious house, fum* 
ished with every possible comfort, flanked by at least two dozen 
outhouses, behind which is spread out a level tract of more than 
one thousand acres of rich and well cultivated land ; while the 
surrounding panorama, with the several exceptions of the lake- 
like looking river, Mission Point, and the point occupied by 
Campbellton, is composed of one vast brotherhood of wild but 
very beautiful mountains. So far as remoteness is concerned, 
Athdl House is to New Brunswick what the North Gape is to 
Norway. Here, however, there is an Arcadian atmosphere ; 
instead of howling storm winds and the roar of waves, we have 
the tinkling of cow bells, and the quiet singing of lovely streams 
stealing along under a canopy of reeds and sedge to the peace- 
ful bosom of their parent river. An estate like this would at- 
tract attention in any land ; but strangely, and most agreeably, 
indeed, does it strike the tourist when he finds it in the very 
heart, as it were, of a wilderness, erroneously associated in 
most minds with nothing but savage animals and uncouth men. 
As the Athol House estate was the very first one perma- 
nently established on the Bestigouche, it may be well imagined 
that its founder must have been a remarkable man. He was a 
native pf the district of Athol, in Scotland, and hence the name 
which he gave to his estate. His own name was Robert Fer- 
guson, and he was one of the earliest explorers and pioneers 
of this region, having settled here in the year 1796. He died 
in 1851, at the good old age of eighty-three years, leaving be- 
hind him, beside some ten children, his wife, Mrs. Mary Adam 
Ferguson, who was the first white person born in the county of 
Bestigouche, and whose strong mind — for she is still living — ^is 
fiilly stored with historical and legendary lore. Mr. Ferguson 
came to the Bestigouche country in the capacity of a fisherman, 
and was soon sailing his own vessel across the ocean, through 
the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and along the Bay. of Ghaleur ; but 
having lost a couple of vessels with their cargoes, during the 
war of 1812, and been carried as a prisoner to Salem, Mass., 
by an American privateer, and fortunately released, he changed 



56 THB RIVBB BB8TIQ0UCHE. 

the character of his business, and spent the remainder of his 
days building ships, exporting lumber, and cultivating his ex- 
tensive property. The artificial materials for building his 
house were brought all the way from Halifax, and for many 
years after his first settlement here, his nearest post office was 
the one at Frederickton, to which place, as well as to St. John 
and Halifax, he was in the habit of making a winter pilgrimage 
on snow shoes. His last journey to Frederickton was performed 
in this manner, and in obedience to a call which the govern- 
ment had made upon him for military services ; but as they did 
not happen to be required at the time, he was feasted by those 
who admired his exalted heroism, and again, through the path- 
less woods and over the snow, alone and fearless, he sought his 
distant wilderness home. 

Athol House and its estate are still in the possession of the 
Ferguson family, and the master-spirit of the place at the pre- 
sent time is the eldest son, Adam Ferguson, Esq., who, in the 
companionship of a most intelligent, amiable, and hospitable 
family, consisting of his mother, a sist«r, and two brothers, 
leads here a life that even Basselas, would have envied. His 
chief attention is devoted to farming, and I do not remember 
to have seen in any part of the United States, nor even at 
Marshfield, a greater variety of fine cattle than those which 
flourish under the fostering care of Mr. Ferguson. 

But as the Restigouche is a famous river for salmon, and as 
many of the best fishing stations belong to the Athol House 
estate, a considerable revenue is derived from this business. 
The fish are taken in set nets, and at every ebb tide during the 
summer, are conveyed to the shore in canoes, and by expe- 
rienced men, are salted and subsequently shipped to Great Bri- 
tain, or, as has of late years b^en the case, sold on the spot t 
American vessels, which have visited Campbellton for the spe- 
cial purpose. Mr. Ferguson informs me that in the early part 
of this century, his father was in the habit of capturing and 
exporting nearly two thousand barrels of salmon annually ; but 
that the character of the Restigouche, in this particular, is ra- 
pidly changing, since he is now quite contented if he can, with 



I " 



t^ 



•OBUC LIBRARY! 



MtTOK, LWBX *M» 



THB BIVBB BBSTIQOUOHB. 57 

tlie asaisianoe of a dosen men,, manage to export three hundred 
barrels per annum. He attribntes the great falling off in their 
nmnbers, to tl\e spearing and netting them by the Indians and 
otheinl)arbarians while on their spawning beds, far beyon^the 
settlements. And then, again, the gradual extermination of 
the salmon is also attributed to another cause. At the close of 
autumn, as I am informed, large quantities of provisions and 
other supplies, intended for the various lumbering parties are 
Bent up the Restigouche,' a distance of eighty miles or more, in 
large tow-boats or scows, drawn by horses ; and as the upper 
part of the river is much impeded by broad, sandy shallows, 
which are the favorite spawning pkces of the salmon, the drag- 
ging of the scows over these shallows, washes away in immense 
quantities the precious embryo deposites of the poor fish. As 
a general thing, the salmon of the Restigouche are much larger 
than those of the Nipisiguit and Miramichi ; and the fish which 
frequent the various tributaries are as distinctly marked by some 
peculiarity of form or color as are the streams themselves. In 
former limes it took about eleven salmon, upon an average, to 
make a barrel of two hundred pounds ; but fifteen and seven- 
teen are now required to reach the same bulk and weight. Odd 
specimens, weighing from forty to sixty pounds, are alluded to 
by all the fishermen, but I have it from the lips of Mrs. Fer- 
guson herself, that she has seen a salmon caught within a 
stone's throw of Athol House, which weighed fifty-three pounds, 
and was actually blind, as she supposed, merely from old age. 
The first run of salmon in the Restigouche, as is also the case 
in the Nipisiguit, consists invariably of females, and fish of a 
large size ; and it is said, that before entering the Restigouche, 
they go roving for a week or two along the Bay of Chaleur, and 
are taken in set-nets everywhere on its coasts. The facilities 
for taking salmon with the hook in the immediate vicinity of 
Athol House are not worth mentioning ; but farther up the 
main river, and especially in the tributaries, by employing the 
canoe and expert Indians, the industrious and fearless angler 
may capture them by the hundred ; and with regard to trout, 
both the white and the common trout, he can take them in all 

roL. n. — B 



58 THE RIVER RESTIOOITCHB. 

weathers, at all times, and almost without any lures but the 
glistening hook. For salmon fishing, I found the small Grill- 
more fly of the Nipisiguit the most killing in the Restigoache. 
^t I must return to my excellent friend Mr. Ferguson. 
He tells me that he occasionally relieves the apparent monotony 
of his life by making a pleasure tour to England and Scotland, 
but that he always returns a more contented man, for he finds 
nothing, even in father-land, which fills his heart with such a 
peaceful joy as the lonely valley and the beautiful mountains of 
his native Restigouche. I doubt not, that, as a mere lover of 
nature, he would prefer to see no change in the present aspect 
of this region, but as a patriot, if not as a business man, I am 
confident that he feels a decided interest in prospect of the 
change about to be eflfected by the great Halifax and Quebec 
railway. This work has already been commenced, and I am 
told, will be prosecuted with zeal. The distance from Halifax 
to Quebec by the proposed line is six hundred and thirty-five 
miles; of these, one hundred and twenty-four are in Nova 
Scotia, two hundred and thirty-four in New Brunswick, and 
two hundred and seventy-seven in Canada. It avoids the bro- 
ken and lofty chain of highlands in New Brunswick, by follow- 
ing the level shores of the Bay of Chaleur, crosses the Resti- 
gouche near Athol JHouse, and ascends the range of highlands 
north of the Restigouche by the valley of the Matapediac river 
and the lakes at its head waters, by easy grades, attaining its 
summit level seven hundred and sixty feet above high water, at 
a point six miles north of the great Matapediac lake, from 
which it then descends along the valleys of difierent tributa- 
ries of the St. Lawrence to the Metis river, which it crosses 
above its mouth, and then it has a level course along the south 
shor^ of the St. Lawrence to Quebec. Of immense importance 
in a national point of view will be this railway to the mother 
country ; and it cannot but do wonders in the way of develop- 
ing the resources, and therefore increasing the wealth, of the 
several provinces through which it is to run. No love- 
lier or more substantial district will it pass through than that 
watered by the Restigouche, where fish and lumber abound to 



THE RIVER RESTIOOUCHE. 69 

an QBlimited extent ; where the more important grains yield 
from thirty, to sixty, and the invaluable potatoe, from twenty 
to forty fold, and where the people are uncommoply moral, 
loyal, intelligent, high-minded, and indnstrious. And then if 
the said railway should be preceded by some amicable commer- 
cial arrangement between the North American Provinces of 
England and the United States, (for which Mr. Grampton, 
the British Minister at Washington, has so long and so ably 
been striving,) and such an one ought speedily to be made, for we 
are the children of one brood ; then will the world, and especi- 
ally the United States, enjoy the advantages to the fullest 
extent, of what is now a comparative wilderness. The great 
objection to this region, prevailing in most minds, is the cli- 
mate, but facts without number prove this to be one of its many 
recommendations. According to one of the older inhabitants, 
Mr. Robert Cooney, the climate is healthy and temperate; 
local diseases are unknown, and instances of surprising longe- 
vity very common. The snow commences, generally, about 
the latter end of December, but rarely becomes permanent till 
early in January, from which time, until the end of March, 
intermittent frosts and snow storms prevail. These, however, 
though in an eminent degree essential to the manufacturing 
interest and trade of the country, are neither so frequent, nor 
so severe as formerly. It is a remarkable fact, that during the 
last thirty years, the climate of this portion of the provinces 
has wonderfully improved ; a change, ascribable to the growing 
influence of agriculture, tempering the keen northerly winds. 
Indeed, although the winter is still cold, it is remarkably plea- 
sant. The frost, by providing the people with excellent high- 
ways, only faciliUltes intercourse ; the air is clear and bracing ; 
the sky generally cloudless, and illuminated by a fervent sun. 
And although the spring comes round rather slowly, no incon- 
venience results from its tardiness, for nature kindly obviates 
the embarrassment, by favoring the country with a surprisingly 
rapid vegetation, ending in an early and an abundant harvest. 
To vindicate the fruitfulness of the soil, and to show the ra- 
pidity of vegetation, it need only be stated that seed-time com- 



60 THB RIVER RESnOOUOHB. 

mences about the middle of May, that the harvest is generally 
collected in September, and that potatoes, planted early in 
July, often yield a luxuriant crop at the same time in October. 
The summer season, though for a trhile very warm, is neither 
dangerous nor distressing. May and June are invigorating 
and salubrious months ; and the intense heat of July and An* 
gust is fanned by refreshing sea breezes that ventilate the 
atmosphere and qualify its fervor, while* the evening dews pro- 
tect the earth from the parching influence of the sun ; at the 
same time, the dews themselves are deprived of their sting, by 
light westerly winds that seem to kiss away their venom. Sep- 
tember and October are delightful months ; and November and 
December, though cold, are very pleasant, and regularly dis- 
tinguished by a brief interval of the pleasant Indian Summer. 

But the attractions and agreeable associations of Athol House 
are not yet half told. Located as it is, upon the outskirts of 
civilization, its doors are not often opened by the hands of 
travellers ; but when such do happen to call, they are invariably 
welcomed in the most hospitable manner. Fortunately for my- 
self and party, the letters of introduction which we brought 
were from Sir Edmund Head, and other valued friends, and the 
great kindness with which we have consequently been treated 
by Mr. Ferguson and the lady members of his household, can 
never be forgotten. Not only have we been feasted in a princely 
manner, but every thing has been done that could be done to 
have us see every object of interest peculiar to the place. As 
time and chance determined, we have glided to and fro, in a 
beautiful sail boat, over the bosom of the Restigouche — ^now 
visiting the Indians at Mission Point, and then the wrecks and 
other objects of historic interest, as well as%e romantic and 
charming place called Bordeaux on the Canadian side, where 
reside some of Mr. Ferguson's kindred— ^a most hospitable and 
agreeable family — and which is a kind of duplicate of Athol 
Jlouse; we rambled along the gravelly shores of the river, 
gathering pebbles and shells, and curious plants, mounted good 
horses and threaded mountain paths to enjoy the most charming 
scenery; and attended woodland festivals, to which neighbors 



THB RIVBB EB8TIG0UCHB. 61 

snd fnends were inyited to' meet us, and among whom were 
some of the most agreeable ladies and gentlemen we have ever 
known. But with regard to my individual moyements^ however, 
they have had for- their object the picking up of local informa- 
tiott, and of .course I have spent the greater part of my time 
with Mr. Ferguson. 

In speaking of the Arran settlers on the Bestigouche he 
told me that they weve not only the most numerous, but also 
the most industrious, frugal, ifnd religious portion of the com- 
munity, and that the love of country, which had once bound 
their hearts to their island home, had been to some degree 
transferred to their adopted mountain land. Indeed a very 
large proportion of the present population have only a tradi- 
tionary idea of fatherland; but though remarkable for high. 
toned morality, they are not quite as scrupulous as was the first 
pair who settled here, and of whom the following circumstance 
is related. They crossed the ocean as lovers; and when the 
time appointed for their marriage arrived, they looked about 
for a clergyman of their own persuasion to perform the cere- 
mony, but bo such indispensible individual could be found. A 
justice of the peace and a Roman Catholic missionary were at 
hand, but neither of these would answer. The only alternative 
that suggested itself, was to cross the wilderness to the mouth 
of the Miramichi where the right kind of clergyman was known 
to be located. The distance was two hundred miles, and it was 
mid-winter. Their minds were made np, however, and they 
could brook no delay. Whereupon they secured the services 
of a friend who was to accompany them, and on snow-shoes, 
performed the necessary journey. It took them fourteen days, 
and their only food was that which they carried with them, and 
their only sleeping places hollows made in the deep snow. And 
the descendants of that courageous pair now number one hun- 
dred souls. Sut stumbling blocks to a matrimonial life are not 
peculiar to the times of old. I am informed that many months 
have not elapsed since another Arran couple, who wished to 
become united in the happy bands, but could not decide in which 
of the two provinces they ought to be married, New Brunswick 



62 THE RIVER RESTIGOUCHE. 

or Canada, entered a canoe, accompanied by a minister, and 
sailing to the centre of the Restigouche, which they considered 
a neutral ground, were there made husband and wife, according 
to law, and their ideas of propriety. 

But I have been particularly interested in some incidents 
mentioned by Mr. Ferguson, touching the natural history of 
this locality, and which I believe are new. The fish, for ex- 
ample, which ascend the Restigouche* during their proper 
seasons, are very numerous ; atfd to illustrate this fact the 
oldest inhabitants will tell you that small black whales have 
been stranded in full view of Athol House ; and that during 
the most severe winters, even the cod-fish' will sometimes leave 
the deep waters of the Bay of Ohaleur, and ascend the Resti- 
gouche to a point where it is so shallow that the Indians spear 
them through the ice ; which by the way, until covered with 
snow, is usually so clear that the fish may be seen swimming 
about near the bottom.* Now, when we remember the natural 
antipathy of the above-mentioned fish to fresh water, the why 
and wherefore of their journeying up the Restigouche are ques- 
tions for the naturalist to settle. If we could imagine them 
lovers of fine scenery and of pleasant people, we should not 
then be surprised at their wayward wanderings. In the way 
of birds, especially the larger kinds, which are undoubtedly 
drawn hither by the numerous fish,* there are to be found here 
a very great variety. Among them is that most mysterious 
and poetical creature, the Great Northern Diver, whose mourn- 
ful and wolfis]i wailing is so closely identified with dark and 
tranquil waters, and grand old hills, with silence and solitude, 
whose supposed spirit is feared and venerated by the red men, 
and whose matted feathers accomplish so much good in keep- 
ing warm the hunters of the North. The eagle, too, and the 
fish-hawk, are also abundant ; but more numerous than all are 
the crows, which build their nests on almost every rocky watch- 
tower on the river. But Mr. Ferguson tells me that at mid- 
winter they have one particular congregating-place, which is 
on the ice, about a mile from Athol House. What brings 
them together has never been discovered ; but that they meat 



THB RIVER RBSTIGOUOHE. 68 . 

St stated times, and by appointment, seems perfectly apparent. 
Thousands upon thousands will assemble in the course of one 
hour, and when standing along in rows, or walking about, and 
keeping their mouths closed, they positively appear to be trans- 
acting business of the highest importance. Who among men 
can question the possibility of their being the transformed 
spirits of the poor French people who perished here by fire 
and sword in the olden^-time, and who are now preparing to re- 
venge their wrongs by flocking to the standard of the modem 
Bourbon and mastering the world ? A ^^ wild-goose chase" in- 
deed they might haye of it, but that would not prevent me from 
mentioning a singular fact or two respecting the wild geese of 
the Restigouche. For three or four weeks during the spring 
and autumn they visit this locality in immense numbers, and 
instead of conducting themselves like silly birds, they habitually 
display a great deal of sagacity. For example, they can dis- 
cover, long before any human eye, the approach of a storm, 
which they always herald by a peculiar mode of flying, accom- 
panied by a scream. While on their journeys they are always 
seen formed into a wedge-like phalanx, the larger and more 
powerful birds invariably take the lead, while the duty of thus 
cleaving the air is divided among the noble fellows, and the 
ceremony of changing places is said to be exceedingly beauti- 
ful and graceful, and then it is, '' that the leader, ambitious of 
his temporary station, utters the cheering and reiterated cry ; 
his loud but simple clarion, answered by the yielding ranks, 
dispels the gloom of solitude through which they laboriously 
, wander to uncertain and perhaps hostile lands." But, alas! 
as among men, the shining marks are too often the first to suffer ; 
for in shooting them the Indians always first fix their arrows 
or guns upon the leader. To this we cannot perhaps object, 
but the habit of killing these poor creatures by torch-light is 
indeed abominable. The French hunters as well as the In- 
dians, are generikUy the depredators in this business. They 
seek the lonely haunts of the geese in their canoes, and with 
the blinding torch in one hand, and a club in the other, some- 
times kill more birds than their canoes will hold ; and it is a 



64 THS BIYER BB6TI€H>IT0HB« 

singular fact that on the spot ^rhere such a slaughter has once 
occurred not a single member of the family or the race, has ever 
been subsequently seen. Although the Restigouche is only a 
periodical resting-place for the birds in question, there is one 
reedy and sedgy island, not far from Athol House, where a 
small colony, some twenty years ago, were in the habit of 
building their nests and rearing their young. When disco- 
vered, however, their nests were wantonly robbed of their eggs 
and then destroyed. For ten years thereafter not a single 
bird of the kind was seen in that locality, when a Scotchman, 
who was fishing in the vicinity, was startledjby a hissing noise, 
which seemed to come from the tops of a f 6w dry trees. He 
investigated the matter, and to his astonishment, found that 
the said trees contained about a dozen nests, and that in each 
nest was seated a matronly goose. Now, fhe deductions to be 
drawn from this fact are also left to the naturalist. But the 
.manner in which wild geese take their departure for the South, 
after a sojourn of a few weeks, has also been described to me 
as very interesting. For several days before their departure 
they are seen flying about in immense circles, calling to each 
other in loud tones, while the larger birds ^re not only the 
most active, but also shout louder than their fellows, like gene- 
rals marshaling and encouraging their forces for a great battle ; 
and so, indeed they do, for the long way which they must soon 
travel, will resound at times with the artillery of the air, and 
be found to be beset with m9>ny a storm of wind and rain. — ^And 
now, the departure of the birds brings up the thought that I 
am myself, only a sojourner at Athol House, and must be again 
on the wing. 

One or two words more in passing, however, the first of which 
shall be about one of my favorite lovers of the wilderness. His 
name is Peter Campbell, and his parents reside in the immedi- 
ate neighborhood of Athol House. He was bom in Prince 
Edward's Island, and is twenty-five years of age. He was 
brought up in a counting-house ; but becoming tired of that 
confining employment, and having a passion for the arts of the 
ofaase, he went alone upon a hunting expedition to the Island 



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THB BIVBR BBSTIGOUCHX. 65 

of Anticosta, ^ the Gulf of St. Lawrence. He was snccessfal 
in kflling game, and the furs he collected were sent to Quebec, 
and brought him a handsome sum of monej. With this he 
purchased a sehoonet, filled it with supplies from Qnebec, en- 
gaged the services of foor Indians, and returned to his island 
himting-gronnds. He made more monej, and with it purchased 
the pleasant home which his parents now oocupj, and which he 
asmvally yisits to make them happy, and fortify his ener^es 
for the fatiguing bnt most romantic life of a hunter, which he 
still continues to lead. According to his account, the island of 
Antieosta is one hundred miles long, twenty wide, skirted with 
rocks, upon which are annually wrecked many vessels ; is cov- 
ered with woods, of a stunted growth, and so dense that they 
ca& only be penetrated by following the paths of the moose, 
while die ranaller animals 'are in the habit, in some places, of 
travelling on the top of the matted cedars ; contains not more 
than half a dozen small log cabins, and one light house, one 
hundred feet high, and lighted from March to December ; has 
a cold but pleasant and healthful climate, and abounds in the 
bear, the martin, the sable, the beaver, the otter, the black cat, 
the black fiff, the wolf, and the moose, and, better far than all, 
in the peerless salmon. It is under the jurisdiction, I believe, 
of Lower Canada, but is the private property of a family in 
Quebec. 

The tide-waters of the Bestigouche terminate about two miles 
above Athol House, at which point the river narrows consider- 
ably, and is filled with about fifty very beautiful islands, covered 
with a luxuriant growth of maple and elm, and interspersed 
with poplar and other trees, which, during the summer, fill the 
air for miles around with a delightful fragrance. These islands 
afford a fine pasturage for the cattle of the neighboring settlers, 
while at night, a novel and spirit-like effect is of^en produced 
among their shady nooks by the torches of the Indians, who 
habitually spear salmon among them, on every night that the 
air is calm; and from the maple trees which predominate 
among them, the Indians obtain their chief supplies of whore- 
some suear. G^iat portion of the Bestigouche, extending from 






;*'-'■>*. -i-' 



66 THE RIVBR RBSTIGOUCHE. 

the above-mentioned islands to its fountain-head^ waters a tract 
of country eminently rich in timber, mineral wealth, and charm- 
ing scenery. Narrow strips of fiat land occasionally appear, 
along which are scattered a few industrious settlers, chiefly em- 
ployed in the lumbering business, whose doors are ever opened 
to the traveller, and whose humble boards are ever spread with 
the best of potatoes and game. For the most part, however, 
the valley is uninhabited, and its natural solitude seems only to 
be enhanced by the echo of the axe during the winter, and 
during the summer by the occasional shouting of the lumber- 
men, while driving their timber and logs along the windings of 
the river, and down its impetuous rapids. In a picturesque 
point of view, however, that portion of the river is the most in- 
teresting, where it forces its way through the mountain lands 
which gives birth to the great streams of New Brunswick, and 
those of the United States emptying into the Atlantic. Here 
the eagle, unmolested, builds its nest upon high cliiTs, the bear 
and black cat secrete themselves in caves and rocky fissures, 
the moose and the cariboo ^^brouse" upon tneir favorite food, 
and the salmon, fearless and free, reflects the sunshine in the 
deepest and darkest of pools. * 



THE DISTRICT OF GASPE. 



I HAYB At last reached the shore of the St. Lawrence, which, 
at Metis, is one hundred miles from the Restigouche. Of all my 
wilderness expeditions, this has been by far the most fatiguing, 
and its anxieties have, by no means, been alleviated by the 
companionship of women. Albeit, my fellow-travellers have 
borne their trials bravely, and with uncommon fortitude. But, 
before proceeding with my narrative, I mu^ record what I have 
picked up respecting the great and remote peninsular of Gasp^, 
which I have just crossed and partially explored. 

Although this district belongs by nature to New Brunswick, 
it is the property, and under the jurisdiction of the government 
of Lower Canada. From what cir<fumstances it derives its 
name, I cannot tell, but I know that the old French authors 
called it SaehepCj and a tradition is extant to the effect that the 
original inhabitants, the Gaspesians, were remarkable for their 
civilizatidta, t)^at they were acquainted with the points of the 
compass and the position of the stars, and were at the same 
time worshippers of the sun. 

As stated before, the distance directly across the peninsular 
is one hundred miles, while its sea coast, extending from the 
head of the Bay of Chaleur to this point on the St. Lawrence, 
is estimated at more than five hundred miles. The interior 
country is still in a wild and uncultivated condition ; b.ut, so far 
as it is known, the Northern shores are generally low, while 
through the interior and along the Southern shore are. two 
ridges of high mountains, which are beyond all question the 
most northern spurs of the Alleghany range, whose extremest 



68 THE DISTBICT OF GASPS. 

southern peaks look down upon the Gulf of Mexico. The dis- 
trict is well wooded, but while the interior is exclusively covered 
with the pine and kindred trees, I am informed that the entire 
district is skirted with a belt from eight to ten miles wide, com- 
posed chiefly of maple, elm, birch, and other hard wood trees. 
Here and there are elevated valleys, where the soil .is rich, 
and, when properly cultivated, yields the common fruits of the 
earth abundantly, and it is well watered with beautiful lakes 
and rivers. For about four months in the year, the climate is 
^delightful. The inhabitants are chiefly French Acadians, 
whose habitations are sparingly scattered all along the southern 
coast, from the Restigonche to the eastern extremity of the 
Cape. Though simple in their manners, they always treat 
strangers with kindness, and are quite content with their 
lot, provided the cod and herring do not fail to make them an 
annual visit, and their small fields are not monopolised by the 
snow more than eight months out of twelve. At those points 
where something like a town makes its appearance, especially at 
a place called Carlisle, the population is composed of a class of 
Americans and British more notorious for their bad rather than 
their good principles and habits. The only road, worthy of the 
name, runs through thd extended settlement already men- 
tioned ; and many portions of this lie directly upon the beach ; 
but the great highway of the sea is theirs, and here, in small 
vessels of their own building, they are quite at home. The 
oldest, largest, and most picturesque settlement isihat of Perce, 
which derives its name from the rocky island heretofore men- 
tioned, and which looms out of the sea in its vicinity. The 
hamlet of Perce is entirely supported by the fishery business ; 
and directly in its rear rises a very high granite mountain or 
cape, which is considered the most northern limit of the Alle- 
ghany mountains. The character of the scenery here is wild 
and terrific, especially so in the autumn and winter, and asso** 
dated with some of the cliffs looking down upon the sea, are 
several stories of dreadful shipwrecks, where the more supersti* 
tious Acadian^ fancy they at times hear the wailing of those 
who have been long drowned. The principal harbor, and one 



XHB DI8TKI0T OF GASPB. * 69 

of the best in the irorld, is that of Gaspe, named after the dis- 
triet itaelf, and here the shores are very rocky and perpendi- 
cnlar. It is thinly populated, and, in addition to the more 
oomnnon kinds of fish, its inhabitants do a small bat thriving 
boBsness in the way of capturing whales, which are of the 
hvmjhhaek species, yield from three to eight tons of oil, are 
hnnted in schooners, and harpooned after a fashion which the 
local fishermen obtained from the whalemen of Nantucket. So 
much for the district of Oaspe — in a general way. 

On reaching the Bestigouohe, and there declaring my inten- 
tion of crossing over to the St. Lawrence, I was informed that, 
attended as I was by ladies, the journey was impracticable and 
even haaardous. The road was represented to me as no better 
than a forest trail, that the distance could not be accomplished 
in less than fire days ; and that there were no accommodations 
whatsoever. I was also told that nearly parallel with this land 
rcrate, and touching it at several points, was a water oommuni* 
cation by the Matapediac river, and I was advised, if determined 
to proceed, to travel in canoes. My fondness for this mode of 
travelling settled the matter in my own mind, and its novelty 
to my companions made them anxious to try the experiment, 
and we determined to take to the water. Two small birch bark 
canoes, manned each by two Micmao Indians, were secured, 
into one of which was placed our baggage, and into the other 
when ready, we embarked ourselves. The men were to receive 
one dollar a day each and found for their services, and one 
dollar per day was to be allowed for the two canoes. They were 
to take us only about sixty miles, to the head of Matapediac 
lake, and to accomplish the trip in four days. As we wo];dd have 
to spend three night in camp, all the necessary requirements in 
the way of blankets, extra clothing, and provisions, were kindly 
furnished for the occasion by the Fergusons. A large party of 
friends came to see us off, and we pushed from shore on one of 
the loveliest of mornings. We ascended the Bestigouche about 
seven miles, alternately by means of the paddle and the pole, 
and enjoyed to perfection the islands which studded the river, 
the deep black pools, and the mountains on either side. On 



70 * THE DISTRICT OF GASPB. 

approaching the Matapediac we found that it had three mouths 
or outlets, and on entering the principal one of these we were 
met by several logs and pieces of timber which came booming 
down on the bosom of a flood, and the paddles gave place to 
the spiked poles. The chief canoe-man shook his head, and I 
began to feel sick at heart. The river was full of salmon, and 
they were leaping out of the water in all directions, as if de- 
lighted at the fullness of the river. The wind began to blow, 
and presently a shower of rain and hail passed over us. The 
rapids in the stream, which were usually surmounted with ease, 
demanded the straining of every nerve ; and now one of the 
poles of the passenger canoe was broken, resulting in its being 
thrown upon a rock, and rendered unsafe on account of a hole 
knocked through its bottom, whereat we scrambled ashore as 
best we could, and then unitedly fell into a profound contem« 
plation on the pleasures of travelling. As a matter of course, 
we determined to return to the place whence we had departed 
in such fine spirits only a few hours before ; and while the canoe 
was being repaired, I quieted the nerves of the ladies with a cup 
of tea, and satisfied our several appetites with a bit of bread and 
the shoulders of a salmon trout, baked in the Indian fashion, 
which had been speared by one of the Indians as we first turned 

k 

into the Matapediac ; and just as the sun was setting, while yet 
the unruffled Restigouche, and the surrounding mountains, 
were bathed in a soft purple atmosphere, we landed on the 
pleasant beach in front of Athol house, and were warmly wel- 
comed by the hospitable inmates, whose jokes and laughter 
were a good deal subdued, as they freely confessed, by the 
thought that we had barely escaped the dangers of the flood. 

The night which followed the dayof excitement was beautiful 
enough to banish every feeling of regret ; for in the confined 
valley of the Matapediac, and especially under a canopy of 
spruce boughs, it could not have been enjoyed at all. But the 
case was far difierent, as I sat alone at one of the front windows 
of Athol House, (after every arrangement had been made for 
continuing our journey on the morrow,) and mused upon the 
lake-like Restigouche, with all its mountains, and a cloudless 



THB DISTRICT OF GA8PE. 71 

norther^sky completely mirrored in its tranquil waters. I 
happenea to be in just the mood to appreciate the more poeti- 
cal influences of nature, and I know not that I ever before en- 
joyed so many objects of peculiar interest in such a happy com- 
bination. The water, the mountains, and the sky were enough 
in themselves to fill me with delight; but then the blandness of 
the night, and the deep silence, in striking contrast with the 
perib of the day^ greatly enhanced their marvelous beauty. 
At one time, from a neighboring grove, an owl sent forth a 
note or two of its dismal hooting, which was presently answered 
by the long low wail of a loon, floating a mile away upon the 
water, and then the sudden splash of a leaping salmon was 
heard so near, and so distinctly visible in the starlight, that the 
wavelets which he made were seen to melt upon the shore. But 
the great event of that night was an aurora, which commenced 
its evolutions in the northern sky about midnight. Its first 
display was in the form of a multitude of small white clouds, 
and as they increased in size, and moved from point to point 
with great rapidity, I was forcibly reminded of the Indian tra- 
dition, which accounts for the northern lights^ by seeing in them 
merely the shadows upon the sky of immense herds of reindeer, 
fleeing before the hunters over the snowy plains of the Arctic 
Sea. And now a sudden change took place, and it seemed like 
a grand review of celestial soldiery — a sort of manoeuvre of 
celestitl battalions. Now they would advance in line of battle, 
stretching entirely across the north from east to west, and then 
they would march and countermarch, break up, divide, rush 
together, and commingle in a sort of general contest. All this 
was continually attended with the most extraordinary vividness 
of motion — here flashing, there trembling, now darting, then 
standing still. Once, in the very zenith, it resembled an im- 
mense eye, in which were blended all the colors of the spectrum, 
opening and shutting with lightning rapidity. At another time 
it took the shape of a crown of vast diameter, and then it began 
to dissolve, slowly and fitfully, until it was hidden behind a 
newly-risen cloud, when it reappeared in slender spires, and 
moved still further to the eastward, looking like silent troops. 



72 THB DIBTRIOT OF QASPH. 

sent away with their long silvery lances to keep sentini on the 
bounds of heaven ; and then the gloom of common night settled 
upon the world. 

The land across the peninsula of (xaspe was formerly known 
to the Indians luad French as the Metis portage, but is now 
called the Kempt road, after the colonial governor, through 
whose instrumentality it was opened about twenty years ago. 
The objects of this road were to afford facilities for carrying 
the English mail between Halifax and Quebec, and to facilitate 
the settlement of the Restigouche and its tributaries* It was 
laid out and built after the turnpike fashion, but having been 
for some unaccountable reason entirely neglected by the gov- 
ernment of Canada ever since the day of its completion until 
the present time, it is now entirely overgrown with a -new 
generation of trees, and is but little better than a conmion 
Indian trail. It crosses some three* or four spurs of high 
mountains and several beautiful rivers, all in a state of nature ; 
also here and there a pe^t bog alid a tamarack swamp runs 
along the entire length of the several Matapediao lakes, and is 
enlivened by three log cabins — ^houses of entertainment. 

On looking about, after our unsuccessful voyage up the Mat- 
apediao for a suitable person to pilot us across the portage, I 
* was referred to George Dickson as the only person who could, 
and probably would, convey us to the St« Lawrence. I found 
that he lived on the road, about eight miles from the Besti^uohe, 
and kept the first of the three pubUc houses already mentioned. 
We journeyed to this point with little difficulty, passing two or 
three clearings, and a small river that was fearfully clear, and 
full of small trout. We found Mr. Dickson glad to see us, and 
willing to help us. He informed us that our first stage beyond 
his house must be performed in one day, or we be subjected to 
camp out; and that ife must spend that night with him, and he 
would get all things ready for an early start on the following 
morning.* 

To this proposition we, of course, assented, and then, with 
our minds at ease, we proceeded to ascertain where we were, 
and who were our new friends. We found that our stopping 



THB DISTRICT OF GASPS. 78 

place was a double log cabin, with a good barn near it, located 
in the centre of five or six highly coltivated fields, on the 
summit of a mountain. On looking abroad, we could not see a 
single vestige of civilization, but only wild mountains upon 
mountains, p'iropping the circle of the sky, and no signs of 
water, excepting a very narrow but charming view of the distant 
Restigouche, which resembled a lonely mountain lake. All the 
green crops of the neighboring valley were on this mountain 
farm, in a flourishing condition, and a better, neater, or more 
enjoyable supper was never eaten, than that with which we 
terminated the rambles of the afternoon. 

But a good supper, an hour's conversation in front of a 
wilderness fire-place with a tidy and intelligent family, and a 
refreshing sleep, were not the only things which the travellers 
to Metis enJ9yed in the Dickson cabin. Of more permanent 
value was the information I picked up respecting our host and 
the highway — literally speaking-H>f which he is the overseer. 
Mr. Dickson is a Scotchmaii, and as plain, honest, hard-work- 
ing, intelligent, and kind-hearted a man as ever crossed the 
ocean. He was chain carrier to the surveying party that laid 
out the Kempt road, and when the mail route was established, 
he was appointed the chief and only manager of all its affairs, 
and has continued in the position ever since, for which duty he 
receives some two hundred and fifty pounds currency per annum, 
and to which he has naturally added that of carrying over the 
road the few passengers who annually seek the St. Lawrence 
by this route. In former times he was himself the post-man, 
but that arduous duty is now performed by his deputy or assist- 
ant, a handsome and smart Acadian, named Noble. And this 
forest mail carrier very well deserves the name in which he 
glories, for his powers of endurance, which I am told, are 
certainly of a high order. Twice in every week, from the 
beginning to the end of the year, does he pass on foot over the 
route from Dickson's house to Metis, fearing neither the heat 
of summer nor the snow of winter, and always unattended 
excepting by the three dogs which, in tandem fashion, drag the 
mail bag behind him, lashed in a tiny cart, or upon runners. 

VOL. n. — V 



74 THE DISTRICT OF GASPB. 

For about one half the year he performs the journey upon 
snow-shoes, and at certain places along the route he has his 
caches where necessary food is periodically deposited, bread 
and pork for himself, and when obtainable hor%e flesh for his 
dogs, which they devour in enormous quantities. For seventeen 
years has the royal mail of England been thus conveyed across 
this wilderness under the superintendence of Mr. Dickson ; and 
if I remember rightly, he told me that it had never been robbed, 
or failed in being promptly conveyed to its destination. He 
stated that the dangers which the postmen sometimes experi- 
enced from wild beasts and winter storms were truly alarming, 
and that the wear and tear of so much toil upon their constitu- 
tion were so great that very few of them could endure more 
than a siege of two years. And he further informed me that 
during the coldest weather his men were usually far more anxious 
about their snow-shoes than about their clothing, and that all 
such shoes were condemned as utterly useless by them when 
not made of yellow birch wood and moose hide, and did not 
measure just exactly four feet and two inches in length. The 
snow in this region usually falls about six feet on a level, but 
sometimes drifts to the height of fify feet, and it is in travelling 
over this foundation that the snow-shoes are so serviceable, and 
in fact indispensable ; and the speed usually accomplished by an 
expert man is six miles an hour. The natural speed of the 
dogs would take them on with a mail bag weighing from sixty 
to eighty pounds, three times as rapidly, and this is the reason 
why the postman always precedes the animals ; and Mr. Dickson 
tells me, that the very best dog for winter travelling now in his 
possession, is one that has been upon the road for eight years 
and is totally blind. The sagacity of these dogs is also repre- 
sented as remarkable. Seeming to know the value of the mail 
entrusted to them, when once attached to the sledge or cart, 
they never allow a stranger to* touch the bag or conveyance, , 
and would tear to pieces any man or wild beast thai should 
assault their master. And what is more, these dogs seem to 
enjoy Xhis business of carrying the mail as if it were only a 
kind of sporting. 



THE DISTRICT OF GA8PE. 75 

Bnt the day is breaking, and Mr. Dickson has summoned us 
to an early breakfast. This is speedily dispatched, when the 
ladies are packed and partially strapped in a small but stout 
cart, drawn by two well-trained, sure footed horses, one before 
the other, which are to be led by Mr. Dickson, while our lug- 
gage is placed in a similar cart, but without any seat, so that 
the manager of the cart and the deponent, like Mr. Dickson, 
have the privilege of travelling on foot. Our heads are all en- 
veloped in thick veils to keep oiF the black flies and musquitoes, 
which promise to be particularly tormenting, which precaution 
will be rendered more serviceable by sprinkling upon said veils 
occasionally a few drops of turpentine from a small vial which 
Mr. Dickson carries in his vest pocket. A hearty " good morn- 
ing and a pleasant journey," came to us from the members of 
the household, and we are on our winding way. 

Down into a little vale, and nothing is to be seen on every 
side but a dense forest. Slowly and steadily we now begin to 
climb a naountain side. Our pathway is not visible, but we 
know that if the leading horse attached to the baggage cart 
can find a foot-hold, we can follow on with confidence. Over 
our heads the trees come together and form a most refreshing 
canopy. The ladies, delighted with the novelty of their situa- 
tion, are plucking blossoms and the twigs of curious bushes, 
which seem to lean forward as if happy to be handled by stranger 
hands, although thickly gloved ; while I, ahead, or in the real*, 
drive dull care away with an uncouth song, or tramp along by 
the side of our Commodore, asking him questions and listening 
to stories of the woods. Higher and higher, when, lo ! our 
eyes take in at a single glance a boundless sea of mountains, 
those of the far ofi" Tobique and St. John lording it over their 
fellows in the South, and theShackshock range looming ambi- 
tiously into the northern sky. Down, down, and we halt upon 
a bridge to water our horses, drink a cup of liquid amber deep- 
ened only a shade or two by artificial means, and to light a 
cigar, whije one of the party takes a hasty sketch of the tor- 
rent beneath, which soon rushes out of our sight on its way 
through an unknown land. Another hill do we climb, anothi^r 



76 THR BISTBICT OF GASPE. 

valley cross, and others upon others do we compass at the same 
slow pace, until we halt at noon upon a bridge spanning . a 
strange but beautiful stream called A%waquegan^ where we 
tarry to feed our horses and enjoy the substantial contents of 
our portable larder. Two lofty hills rise almost perpendicular 
within a few hundred yards of us, down one of which an ava- 
lanche has made a perfectly smooth pathway, and between 
which blows a fresh breeze, whereby the flies are driven away, 
and for a brief time we enjoy the luxury of breathing with un- 
veiled faces. A clean white cloth is spread over the flooring 
of the bridge, and when: covered with tongue and ham, and 
other Athol House substantial, presents a most tempting pic- 
ture to a hungry man, but not sufliciently so to prevent the 
angler of the expedition from first throwing a fly in a neigh- 
boring pool and capturing a dozen or so of the spotted beau- 
ties, when his dinner is eaten with a clear conscience ; for surely 
it would never do for a true angler to turn a deaf ear to the 
singing of a stream like the Aswaquegan. ^ 

But who are these coming down the pathway of the avalanche, 
resembling an aged Indian with a pack of furs upon his back, 
and accompanied by a boy, who would fain break bread with 
us upon the bridge ? Surely, as music hath power to soothe 
the savage breast, it is an Italian organ grinder accompanied 
by his son ! Five months ago, he left his boyhood's home in 
the shadow of the Appenines ; three months ago he was play- 
ing and singing '^There's no place like Home," in the rotunda 
•of the Astor House, New York ; and three weeks ago, from 
the lower portion of the city of Quebec, was echoing, with his 
machine, ^' God save the Queen," as it pealed sweetly on the 
evening air from the plains of Abraham. Our foreign friend 
seems somewhat bewildered at his present position, and his 
state of mind is by no means quieted when we inform him that 
he must yet travel some twenty miles before coming to a house. 
Our hearts are moved with pity, and we cheer him and liis com- 
panion with a good thick slice of bacon and a cup of wine, 
leaving him to journey on, through a land of wolves and bears, 
with music on his back, if not in his heart. Another long, 



THE DISTRICT OF QA8PB. 77 

tedious, hillj, lonelj, and now somewbat monotonous ride ; and 
lAilc watching the clouds gathering around the setting sun, we 
descend into the valley of the Matapediac, and at the junction 
of that stream with the Carzepshell, (which we cross,) thirty- 
six miles from our morning starting place, we pull up before 
the cabin of one Jonathan Noble, the father of our friend the 
postman. 

A queer, queer place, indeed, is this to spend the night in, 
(the house of Jonathan Noble,) after a journey of nearly twelve 
hundred miles in pursuit of pleasure. It is called the half-way 
house between the Bestigouche and St. Lawrence, but one 
might fancy it to be the half-way house between the outskirts 
of civilization and oblivion. It is a mere log-cabin, containing 
two divisions upon the first floor with a pair of closets honored 
with the name of bed-rooms, and one spacious garret, the usual 
herding place at night of Sir Matapediac Noble and his exten- 
sive family; mellowed to a rich vandyke brown by the smoke 
of untold years, are all its rafters and rough walls, and so fee- 
ble is the whole building from the effects of the storm winds of 
this northern land, that it has to be propped up with massive 
timbers to prevent it from tumbling into the neighboring stream. 
A small but poorish farm surrounds this cabin, bespeaking a 
kindred poverty in the proprietor, and we learn with pleasure 
therefore, that he receives a pension of some twenty-five pounds 
(for he could not otherwise survive) from the provincial govern- 
ttient to keep open house for strangers, and to facilitate the 
weekly progress of the post. We attempt a twilight recon* 
noitre of our location, but are soon driven into the house by the 
black flies, or, as the Indians call them '^Bite-um-no-see-um,'' 
as well as by the smoke from burning chips, intended to keep 
them of^ but even harder to endure. We ask for water where- 
with to refresh our faces, and receive it in a dish which is yet 
warm from performing very recent duty upon the table ; we 
ask for a towel, and receive a dingy pillow case ; we ask for a 
little supper, but so dubiously is it placed before us that the 
salmon goes untasted, and even the eggs aud potatoes are looked 
upon with many doubts, and we rejoice with extreme joy that 



78 THE DISTRICT OF OASPB. 

we still have left a portion of our Athol House supplies ; we 
ask for beds, and do receive them, but with accessories, numer- 
ous, gigantic, minute, and venomous beyond the power of com- 
mon language to describe ; and then, as if to increase the plea- 
sures of our condition, our ears are all night long saluted with 
the wolf-like howling of two dogs, and the natural emanations 
of a midnight brawl between our hostess and her lord. 

But now the day is breaking, and our broken slumbers are 
at an end. The ladies rush forth, and, in something like a 
frantic mood, inquire how soon we can possibly resume our 
journey, to which I very coolly reply — -just as soon as I can 
make ten casts of a fly in a deep pool, just below the cabin, at 
the junction of the two streams. I expect only to kill a few 
trout, but nevertheless take my biggest Conroy rod, and put 
on a Gillmore fly. My companions follow me, and also one of 
the Noble boys. I stand upon a gravelly point, and in a very 
few minutes seven one and two-pound trout are skipping upon 
the gre.en sward. The ladies have wet their feet ; are also 
tired, and have started on their return to the cabin, when they 
are summoned back again by a pretty nervous shout, accom- 
panied with the word salmon. Just where the waters of the 
two streams come together I have hooked a splendid fellow. 
With one single rush he carries off" two hundred feet of line — 
one, two, and three leaps high into the air, and another rush of 
fifty feet or more — now he is quite docile, and allows me to reel 
him almost to my feet — another rush and he has sought the 
bottom, and is trying apparently to break my hook upon the 
rocks ; he fails — another rush, and then he comes gently to the 
shore ; my attendant obeys instructions, wades into the stream, 
makes one good sweep with the gaff, and the vanquished salmon 
reaches a bank of luxuriant clover — a fit place to breathe his 
last — just in time to receive upon his side the first kiss of the 
uprisen sun. Weight, a fraction over twenty-six pounds; 
length, forty-two inches ; and the Matapediac lives in my me- 
mory as the paragon of streams. 

The miseries of the night are partially forgotten ; we break- 
fast upon trout, pack away our salmon, and continue our jour- 



THE DISTRICT OF QASPB. 79 

ncy, — slowly as before, — up hill and down, but orer a rocky 
uneven road. I qnestion friend Dickson abont the Matapediac 
haIf'W%y hoQse. He tells me he has done all in his power to 
ittake it a respectable and comfortable place, but without suc- 
cess. He has threatened to report the inn-keeper to the go- 
vernment, and frightened him into the propriety of keeping on 
on hand a ham, a little flour, and some white sugar and tea, 
for the benefit of travellers ; but the travellers have not come, 
and in self-defence the poor man and his family have eaten up 
the dainty fare — the last assortment, probably, while enter- 
taining for a holiday week the organ player and his boy. We 
now pass in review three or four most lonely little lakes, through 
which the Matapediac runs, and where it is said the salmon 
come to spawn in immense numbers. Anon, we come to a ca- 
bin, only about four feet high, where a courageous young lady 
named Ritchie, accompanied by her father and Mr. Dickson, 
once spent a night at mid-winter, while journeying on a sledge 
drawn by dogs from Metis to the ^stigouche ; and then a 
wooden cross surmounting a grave attracts our attention, and 
we are told that here repose the ashes of the man who led on 
the party which first surveyed the route for the Kempt road, 
and^o w« drowned in a deep pool only a few paceB Lm hta 
resting-place. The day is nearly spent; twenty-nine miles 
have been accomplished, we are all fatigued, and of course, 
arrive with joyful hearts at the upper end of the larger Mata- 
pediac Lake, and in a cabin, kept by one Bruchet, and located 
on a pleasant, grassy point, we spend the night in a compara- 
tively comfortable manner. The lake in question is about two 
miles wide, and a dozen long ; near its centre is a single island, 
said to be a fine breeding place for loons ; its immediate shores 
are flat, but receding into highlands, and entirely uncultivated, 
abounding in blocks of limestone resting upon a sandstone for- 
mation, and containing fossils of many varieties ; and the prin- 
cipal fiish which it yields are the common trout, tuladi or great 
gray trout, and a small species of white fish. Like his neigh- 
bor Noble, Bruchet is & pensioner upon the government, but 
fulfils his obligations in a more creditable manner. Another 



80 THE DISTRICT OF GASPE. ' 

dawn is welcomed; we breakfast upon a portion of our royal 
salmon, and onward do we journey. The same rough, and now 
exceedingly monotonous road continues, for no new plants can 
now be discovered, and the eye becomes weary with the excess 
of deep green foliage, and we compass the remaining distance 
of twenty-seven miles to Metis without meeting more than two 
human beings — ^the famous postman. Noble, with his mail, and 
three dogs, who tells us that he had just seen a bear upon the 
road, and « French hunter coming out of the woods, who joins 
our party, carrying upon.hb back a small assortment of peltries 
and a few common birds. And here, by a strain now ringing 
in our ears, we are reminded of the fact that the quaint sweet 
whistling of the Peahody-hird, has accompanied us on our jour- 
ney, all the way from the far off Potomac, and it has at one 
time so forcibly reminded us of home, that we have felt like 
clapping our hands with delight. In this region it glories in 
the ambitious name of the non-cdmrnisioned officer^ as its note 
is like that of one calling ^^ pen i^d ink, pen and ink, pen and 
ink, quickly come, quickly come," and while it seems to love 
the presence of man, its favorite haunts are the leafy solitudes 
of the wilderness, as if its mission was to cheer the woodman 
and traveller in their loneliness. The summit of our last hill 
is attained, and we come in full view of the great St. Lawrence^ 
with ships gliding over its bosom like the spectres of a dream, 
and the far off Alpine land of Labrador, and the ocean-like gulf 
of the St. Lawrence blending with the blue of the sky, while 
the foreground of the picture is composed of the parish of Me- 
tis, with its cultivated fields, and white houses reposing quietly 
at the foot of the declivity, down which, to a comfortable inn, 
we rapidly descend, sincerely thankful that we have escaped 
the dangers of the Great Portage, and are once more permitted 
to enjoy the blessings of civilization. 



THE SOUTHERN SHORE OF THE ST. LAWRENCK 



Thb distance from Metis to Quebec is two hundred miles, 
and the country intervening, is the home, more completely than 
any other section of Canada, of its French population. On 
sereral oceasions haye I had a passing view of this southern 
shore of the St. Lawrence while sailing up and down the river, 
but never, until the past week, have I travelled directly through 
the country and made myself personally acquainted with its 
physical aspect and the character of its inhabitants. It took 
six days to accomplish what need not have required more than 
three, my two companions and myself occupying the everlast- 
ing caleche of the country, while our luggage was conveyed in 
a cart, each vehicle drawn by a tough pony and the driver of 
the cart officiating as pilot. But the result of my observations 
I will record in a more systematic manner than a consecutive 
account of our adventures will allow. 

To speak in general terms, the entire Southern shore of the 
St. Lawrence, between Metis and Quebec, is traversed by no 
less than three most excellent roads, runn.ing parallel with the 
river, crossed at right angles by other roads from two to four 
moles apart, the squares thus formed being out up into very re* 
gular and narrow slips of land, upon which are located the 
comfortable dwellings and accompanying out-houses of a farm- 
ing community. This peculiar division of property had its ori- 
gin in the naturally social disposition of the Canadian French, 
and the result has been that the entire section of country in 
question presents the appearance of a continuous village. And 
yet, in spite of this circumstance, a remark made by Mr. John 



82 THE SOUTHERN SHORE OF THE ST. LAWRENCE. 

McGregor is quite true, tbat tbe counties of Gaspe, Rimouski, 
and Kamorouski are less known in the mother country than 
Kamschatka. All the roads are good, but that running more 
immediately along the shore is the best, the most agreeably di- 
versified, and thickly settled ; and it is with this that the others 
converge whenever a considerable stream is to be crossed, 
whereby one bridge answers for the three. On the river road 
are also located all the parish churches, whose glittering twin 
spires loom into the sky in sight of each other throughout the 
entire distance, and many of which are quite beautiful out- 
wardly ; filled with pictures — generally of questionable merit, 
and they are always admirably situated. The farms in ques* 
tion are all in a high state of cultivation, and the pastures are 
covered with well-fed flocks, although the gardens attached to 
the houses seem to be the main dependencies of the proprietors, 
for they are quite extensive, and, next to the rye or barley 
fields, yield the two principal articles of consumption, potatoes 
and peas. The habitations are almost exclusively built of wood, 
and, though generally alike, I did not see any two that pre- 
cisely resembled each other. They seem to have been built 
by men who had a decided taste for the picturesque in form, if 
not superior ideas in regard to comfit and utility. 

They ape usually one story high, with steep, curved^ and overw 
hanging roofs, dormer windows in abundance, porches and piaz- 
zas of manifold varieties, and are painted after every imagine 
able fashion. A large iron stove occupies a conspicuous position 
in every house, being placed in the partition of the two rooms, 
into which the houses are generally divided ; and in this is all 
the winter cooking done. In the summer it is done outside, in 
the open air, whilst the bread is invariably baked in a clay oven, 
and occasionally kneaded by the road-side on the ground, at 
the foot of the oven, into which it is subsequently placed. The 
bams belonging to them, and to which is always attached a wind-!- 
machine for grinding grain, are large, similar in style 19, and 
oftentimes more beautiful and comfortable than the dwellings 
themselves ; and were it not for the almost total absence of 
domestic trees, the rural beauty of these settlements could 



ISE SOUTHSBN SHORE OF TQE ST. LAWRENCE. 88 

hardlj be surpassed. A few fruit trees do occasionally or- 
nament a garden spot, but we see nothing in the way of 
cheerful shade trees ; and if you wish to enjoy a forest walk, * 
yon must retire to the highlands, which are from one to two 
miles in the interior. At the moutbs of the principal rivers are 
located extensive saw-mills, chiefly owned by William Price, 
Esq., of Quebec, whose astonishing enterprise has done so much 
to develop the resources of the Lower St. Lawrence and the 
famous Saguenay river ; and in their vicinity is generally found 
a ship-yard, with two or three vessels on the stocks, intended 
for the Quebec and European trade. In truth, the region in 
question cannot be visited without affording the traveller much 
pleasure, for everywhere are to be seen the abodes of simplicity, 
yirtue, and happiness. 

The scenery that you witness in travelling up the southern 
shore of the St. Lawrence, is everywhere spread out on a grand 
scale, and quite as beautiful as it is imposing ; for the great 
Alpine region of the northern shore is never crut of sight, and 
you continually have the watery plain at your feet, dotted here 
and there; with the most luxuriant islands, occasionally sur- 
mounted with a lighthouse, and, like butterflies upon a mirror, 
huge ships, without number, sailing in safety and peace. Such 
is the general aspect of the country at midsummer; but on the 
approach of winter, an immense change takes place : the scenery 
becomes wild and desolate ; the storms terrific ; the dangers of 
navigation formidable ; the river and gulf are choked up with 
broken fields of ice; and the entire country is covered with 
snow to* the depth of many feet. 

The people inhabiting this romantic region are almost exclu- 
sively descendants of the French, who have at different times 
emigrated to Canada. Indeed, I do not remember to have seen 
on the entire road between Metis and Quebec, except at one or 
two of the watering-places, a single individual who was not of 
French extraction. The provincial word habitan is said to be 
more strictly applicable to the inhabitants of this section of 
country than to any other in Canada ; from which circumstance 
I am led to believe that its proper interpretation is, the people 



84 THE SOUTHERN 8H0BE OF THE ST. LAWBENCB. 

• 

who cultivate small farms^ or the peasantry of the country, al- 
though its original meaning, as understood by the old French 
voyagers who first used it, was the legitimate one of inhabitant. 
All this, however, is of little consequence when oompared 
with the interesting character of the people. The great ma* 
jority of them are tillers of the soil, and are quite content, 
and even happy, if they can but have an abundance of the 
simple food which their lands yield, albeit a few of the more 
ambitious and enterprising do a considerable business in the way 
"Of fishing. They are, however, quite as illiterate as if in a state 
of barbarism. School-houses may indeed be known among them, 
but they are few and far between. They pay but little attention 
to the raising of domestic animals, and yet their little cows are 
said to be good milkers. From their sheep is obtained the ma^ 
terial out of which, in domestic looms, they manufacture their 
clothing and (with the assistance of their geese and the useful 
flax) their bedding. But their fav<H*ite and most indispensable 
animal is the horse, the smalkst, homeliest, smartest, and 
toughest creature imaginable. Like the quadrupeds, the people 
are generally small in stature, with dark complexions, caused 
by the admixture of Indian with French blood ; the men com- 
mon-place, but the women almost invariably handsome. Both 
sexes dress with taste, the men in their homespun woollens, and 
the women in bright calico gowns, set oS* in summer with white 
aprons, neckkerchief, and broad-brimmed straw hats. They 
are civil and polite to an uncommon degree, men, women and 
children always bowing to strangers as they pass, with a careless 
grace and ease truly captivating. They are warm-hearted, main- 
taining their own poor and generously relieving the wants of 
the distressed, and so hospitable that regularly-established inns 
are almost unknown among them, and the best accommodations 
can be obtained at the majority of dwellings, by merely solicit* 
ing the favor. They are strictly honest in their every-day deal- 
ings, and the civilized custom of bolting and locking doors at 
night, is practised to a limited extent. They are cheerful and 
sociable in their dispositions, frolicsome, but temperate ; fond 
of visiting each other, playing on the violin, and getting up 



THB BOtTTHBRN SHORE OF THE ST. LAWRENCE. 85 

dances, and in going from place to place employ their only 
yehicleSf the two-wheeled caleche, or cabriolet, and a common 
cart. They are withal a most cleanly race of people, not only 
m their persona, but their houses and farms. But their ruling 
passicm is the church — the Roman Catholic Church, with its 
thousand and one ceremonies, customs, and commands. They 
respect and lore their priests, spend their money freely for all 
ecclesiastical purposes, filling their houses with crucifixes, statu- 
ettes, and pictures of the Virgin, and the innumerable saints ; 
and on spots by the roadside, to which trifling legends are at- 
tached, they have erected large wooden crosses, while in some 
places the eye is pained with the sight of large plaster casts o£ 
the crucifixion, standing under wooden canopies supported by 
tall pillars. 

Upon the whole, the traveller through this region would at 
all times be impressed with the spirit of contentment and peace 
which reigns among the people, if not with their superior intel- 
ligence. But as the Sabbath is their most devotional as well 
as their principal gala*day, it is the one best calculated to wit- 
ness their excessive happiness by mingling with them, whether 
upon the roads, crowded with vehicles, and talking and laugh- 
ing groups of gayly-dressed women and children, or around the 
churches, where they congregate before and after morning ser- 
vice in immense multitudes. With all their virtues, the habitans 
are by no means an enterprising people, and it would seem to have 
been impossible to wean them from the customs and habits of 
their ancestors. 

In regard to all domestic ties and duties, the habitans are 
quite as circumspect as any class in more refined communities. 
Husband and wives live in commendable harmony, and parents 
usually treat their children with great kindness. Early mar- 
riages are common ; and this fact, together with the healthful- 
ness of the climate, accounts for the annual increase of the 
Frenc]^ population of Canada at the rate of five per cent., 
while that of England only increases at the rate of three per 
cent. When a father dies his property is divided equally 
among his children, so that the evils necessarily attendant upon 



86 THE SOUTHERN SHORE OF THE ST. LAWRENCE. 

the original narrow shape of the farms are greatly increased ; 
but the father's farm proper usually descends to the oldest son, 
with whom the mother domiciliates for the rest of her days. 
But by far the most interesting and touching custom peculiar 
to the habitans is that of second marriage, so called. When- 
ever a venerable couple have trod the path of life together for 
fifty years, they summon to a banquet under their roof, from 
every quarter of the land, all their children and grand-children, 
in whose presence is re-pefformed the ceremony that made 
them man and wife half a century before, when the feasting 
and the dancing, which continue for two or three nights toge- 
ther, bespeak a most heartfelt happiness as well as gratitude; 
and at the expiration of every five years from that period until 
separated by death, the aged pair continue to repeat the cere- 
mony of publicly pledging their vows of fidelity and truth. 

It may well be imagined from the foregoing description that 
our journey from Metis to this city was both novel and agree- 
able ; but there were two or three places which made a par- 
ticular impression upon my mind, and to these I will now 
allude. And first as to the parish of Rimouski. It is more 
populous than its neighbors, contains an unusually large num- 
ber of handsome houses and a small inn, kept by a Frenchman 
named Martin, which: is first-rate in every particular, and of 
course made a deep impression upon us who had just escaped 
from the woods. Those who have a taste for business would 
like Rimouski on account of its extensive saw-mills and ship- 
yards, which give it a thriving character ; but the lover of 
scenery and angling could not remain quiet until he had ex- 
plored the valley of the river Rimouski. It is partially settled 
throughout its whole length by an industrious and happy class 
of small farmers, and the mountains which hem it in are covered 
with thick woods and belong to that range which here boldly 
swoops down to the St. Lawrence and forms a headland resem- 
bling the beak of an eagle, and known by the name of Le Bic. 
But as a stream for trout it is unapproachable. From personal 
experience, however, I can only speak of one of its tributaries, 
which is without a name, and comes into it about twenty miles 



7HJB SOUTHERN 8H0BB OF THE ST. LAWBEKCB. 87 

from its xnoath^ and runs almost near enough to the parish of 
Trots Pistoles to answer as its southern boundarj. It is not 
niore than a dozen miles long, and runs through some four or 
fire beautiful little lakes, upon which, standing in the bow of a 
canoe managed by a Frenchman, it was my privilege to spend 
an entire day throwing the fly, and from whose crystal w<aters 
I took two hundred and thirty trouU Very many of them ex- 
ceeded two pounds in weight, and it was frequently the case 
that half a dozen trout would dart after my fly at the same in- 
stant, ^and, in experimenting with three flies, I caught a trout 
with each fly. It was the greatest day's sport that I ever en- 
joyed, and I remember with pleasure that about a dozen poor 
families, besides myself and party, feasted upon the results of 
my good fortune. 

The parish of Trois Pistoles is another place to which I must 
pay my compliments in passing, not so much on account of its 
charming location and the pretty river which gives it its name, 
but because of its chief inhabitant, in regard to age and wealth, 
all church matters and judicial proceedings, general character 
and influence — ^Felix Tetu, Esq. I first became acquainted 
urith this gentleman while upon my last summer's tour to the 
Saguenay river and the coast of Labrador, where he has an 
extensive lumbering establishment, whence he took me and my 
party at that time to Trois Pistoles, and where we spent a most 
delightful week. To revisit him and his most accomplished 
and excellent wife was indeed one of the chief incentives to our 
recent journey across the Metis portage. But, alas ! we were 
most sadly disappointed, for our worthy friends were both ab- 
sent on a tour ; and yet we made ourselves perfectly at home 
in their mansion, where every attention was paid to us by tjieir 
household. It would take a long time to relate the story of 
our former visit there. During that visit, as one of the party 
has since very happily expressed it, we rambled, rode, and saw 
the lions of the parish, fished for trout in lake and brook, and 
came home to bounteous dinners. .We had bounteous break- 
fasts, too, and generous suppers. And what was more, nay 
most, we had Felix Tetu both at and between them all. Though 
full of business, he seemed to have leisure to be full of pleasure. 



88 THE SOUTHERN SHOBE OF THE ST. LAWBENCE. 

Between them both he was certainly the most industrious of 
men. When he slept we had to guess. Wake up at the dead 
of night, there was the light of Felix Tetu, writing letters or 
reading the news ; get up at daybreak, there again was Felix 
Tetu, writing letters or looking at the papers. When he came 
in he always came with a festive spirit ; when he went out he 
seemed to be going to a bridal. Breakfast, dinner, supper 
were all festive ; full of fun, speeches, theatric gesture, anec- 
dote, and song. Evenings were merriment itself. Madame 
played the piano and Monsieur sang or danced his noiseless 
hornpipes, and filled the house and hearts of his guests with 
joy. I remember certain gleams of sunshine across the mea- 
dows of my childhood ; so I shall forever remember the glow- 
ing smiles of Monsieur Tetu. Happy, happy Felix Tetu! 
sparkling with the wine of youth and blooming with its very 
roses, the odorous freshness of childhood hand in hand with 
the powers of manhood, and walking gaily down to old age, 
flowery Vith virtues and musical with genial words and feelings. 
The river scenery opposite Trois Pistoles is particularly in- 
teresting, for in the distance we have a view of the mouth of 
the famous Saguenay, and in the foreground a number of pic- 
turesque islands. The principal object of wonderment, how- 
ever, is a rocky islet, a couple of miles from the shore, upon 
which is a wooden cross, and with which, to use the language 
of the friend already quoted, is associated the fbllowing inci- 
dent : During the Christmas holidays some twelve years ago, 
the St. Lawrence froze in a night off against Trois Pistoles to 
the width of six miles. In the morning, which was calm and 
bright, this extent of ice was seen to be spotted with hundreds 
of seals basking in the sunshine. As soon as the news could 
fly, people from all parts of the parish hastened to enjoy the 
promised sport. The seals nearest to the land were first killed 
and drawn off bodily on sleds. Those further out were skinned 
on the spot where they were slaughtered. In the course of a 
few hours the massacre of the poor creatures became general, 
and extended to the outer edge of the ice ; heaps of reeking 
hides and blubber multiplying in every direction ; pools and 
paths of blood all around — ^a field of carnage as shocking as it 



THE SOUTHERN SHORE OF THE ST. LAWRENCE. 89 

was Shovel. But the wild excitement attending the killing of 
the seals was presently to be followed by an excitement of a 
different kind. It seems as if the genius of the deep, offended 
by the effusion of blood, silently determined to turn the sudden 
good fortune of the people of Notre Dame des Anges into a 
deadly snare. A southerly wind* sprung up, which, working 
with the ebbing tide, broke the main field of ice from the shore 
and floated it off into the stream. This was happily discovered 
in time to secure, though with the loss of large portions of 
their booty, the escape of all except a few parties of the more 
ardent and adrenturous, who were too distant to be seasonably 
wariked of their peril. When at length they became apprised 
of it there was half a mile's space of blue water between them 
and the land. The distance was rapidly increasing, the wind 
freshening, the tide swiftening, and the short December day 
speedily drawing to a close. At this crisis there was made 
evident an appalling fact : there was not a boat available along 
the shore, all were under cover at home. By no possibility 
could the ice stand the swell through the lengthy night. All 
were given up for lost. They gave themselves up to inevitable 
death, and lay down several of them, in an agony of grief and 
terror, flat upon the bloody surface. There were forty men of 
them. Poor fellows ! They went wandering, little parties of 
them, up and down the landward edge of their dreadful float, 
which seemed«to be bearing them from their homes and families, 
who also were running back and forth along the beach, shriek- 
ing and distracted at the horrible position of friends whom the 
approaching darkness would shut from their view forever. 
Heightening the solemnity and fenderness of the awful part- 
ing was the giving of absolution by the priests ; now to one 
company from the church, then to another from the chamber- 
windows of M. Tetu's house, to another from a point below* 
During these solemnities all, both upon the ice and upon the 
shore, knelt or prostrated themselves, with their heads bare 
and their hands stretched towards Heaven, pouring forth floods 
of tears and volumes of cries and supplications. In the midst 
of this thrilling, painful scene a .bold fellow launched a little 
VOL. n. — Q 



90 THE SOUTHERN SHORE OF THE ST. LAWRENCE. 

skiff and darted over the roughening water to the rescue. 
With this frail barque, only capable of taking three or four at 
a time, he succeeded, almost miraculously under the circum* 
stances, in landing every one of those forty men upon a rocky 
islet past which they were drifting. The last one was taken 
off late at night when the ice was in a state of rajHd dissolu- 
tion. From the crag upon which they were saved they walked 
over solid ice to the mainland, and were received with frantic 
joy by crowds of friends who regarded them as good as raised 
from the dead. In the morning there was not in sight a vestige 
of the field upon which the people had been so busy the day 
before. In remembrance of their happy deliverance there was 
erected upon the rock of Rosade, the islet of their escape, a 
large cross, with a memorial in French, under a glass cover. 
This cross is visible from M. Tetu's residence, and stands to 
the parishioners of Notre Dame des Anges a silent witness of 
God's mercy in the hour of peril, ^ and of his rebuke of the 
spirit that prompts men to rush thoughtlessly into danger for 
the sake of gain. 

On our way from Metis we tarried for a short time at the 
several watering places of Canada — Cocona, River du Loup, 
and Kamarouski. They are all thriving little places, abound- 
ing in fish and good bathing houses, have each a comfortable 
inn or two, with good accommodations, but' only patronised to 
a limited extent. Between these places and Quebec, during 
the summer, there is a steamboat communication, and the plea- 
sures of a sail to either of them are manifold. 

Another place worth mentioning is the hamlet at the mouth 
of the river Quelle, where a* very superior oil and a capital 
leather are manufactured from the blubber and hide of the 
white porpoise. The proprietors of the establishment are 
Charles H. and Vital T^tu, Esqrs., of Quebec, who are cousins 
to our friend Felix T^tu, and, like him, are among the most 
enterprising citizens of the province. Our next stopping pljice 
was at St. Anne, where is very beautifully located a handsome 
college or seminary, managed - by a Roman Catholic faculty, 
and accommodating one hundred and fifty students, the annual 
expense to each student being twenty pounds currency. The 



THB 80UTHBRN SHOBB OF THB ST. LAWBBNOE. 91 

institntion is said to enjoy a good reputation, and one of twenty 
established in Lower Canada, and many of its pupils come from 
NoTa Scotia and New Brunswick. The largest habitan town 
through which we passed was St. Thomas ; where seems to be 
transacted quite an extensive business of a miscellaneous cha* 
racter, and in the centre of which stands a church that would 
do honor, in point of architecture, to any city in the United 
States. Between that place and Quebec the scenery is exceed- 
ingly beautiful, comprehending among other things, the very 
best view of the Island of Orleans, and also the Falls of Mont- 
morency, on the opposite shore, as well as the ancient looking 
town at Point Levi, through which we had to pass on our way 
to the ferry connecting it with the citadel city. 

We were all deeply impressed with the view of Quebec, as it 
burst upon us from the southern shore of the St. Lawrence. 
We could take in at one view the monument to Wolfe and Mont- 
ealm, the slab marking the spot where Montgomery fell, and 
the plains of Abraham. The lower and upper city presented 
a singular contrast, one so high above the other. The river 
was crowded with numerous vessels of every form and size* 
On landing we were fortunate enough to secure the only four- 
wheeled vehicle upon the wharf, and were driven or whirled 
through the crooked streets of the lower city, and .by the gate- 
way guarded with cannon, into the more cheerful upper city, 
and thence to the Albion Hotel, where we took lodgings, and 
found a gentleman from the States for our landlord. After a 
good breakfast, which was superintended by a negro, who pre- 
sided as head waiter over a dozen white men, we walked to the 
Roman Catholic Cathedral, and I was glad to find its interior 
arrangements somewhat improved from what they were when I 
paid my two previous visits to the city. We sauntered to the 
citadel wi£h a permit^ which gave us a guide through the curious 
and romantic place. We looked off from the immense height 
upon the shipping and busy city below, where men and horses 
looked, as usual, quite insignificant, and out upon the great St. 
Lawrence, which presented a grand and impressive prospect. 
In passing through the city I was more forcibly struck than 
ever before with the appearance of those singular vehicles called 



92 THE SOUTHERN SHORE OF THE ST. LAWRENCE. 

caliches, which reminded one of my companions of the old- 
fashioned vehicle by that name. They were to me more like 
an antique gig than any thing else I have seen. Quite as 
curious and laughable were the tiny milk carts drawn by dogs. 
On returning to our lodgings we found an invitation to dine 
at half-past seven o'clock with the Governor-general of Canada, 
Lord Elgin, to whom we had brought letters of introduction. 
We left for his mansion, Spencer Wood, at seven o'clock, allow- 
ing just thirty minutes for a drive of three miles, crossing on 
our way the famous "Plains of Abraham," from which the most 
striking scene at that hour was a long line of flickering lights, 
extending far up the valley of the St. Charles. On arriving 
at the mansion, which is surrounded with woods and occupies 
the brow of a point overlooking the St. Lawrence, we were re- 
ceived at the door by servants in livery, and in a short time 
were ushered into the drawing room, where several gentlemen 
were already assembled, including one or two officers of the 
British army. Presently, Lord and Lady Elgin, with Lady 
Bruce, one of his household, entered and met us cordially. He 
is rather a short man, with white hair, piercing black eyes, 
self<>possessed, and very polite and affable in his manners. La- 
dy Elgin is a gentle and fairy-like personage, with dark hair 
and eyes, and an uncommonly intellectual and sweet counte- 
nance. Lady Bruce is handsome and jovial, with fair com- 
plexion, light hair and eyes, and rosy cheeks. The cenversa- 
tion at table was high-toned, and to me entertaining and 
instructive. Much was said connected with the political state 
of our country and our great men, and it rather surprised me 
to hear how familiar his excellency seemed to be with all 
that was transpiring in the States. Much was also said by 
Lord Elgin about the method of school education among uSj 
and he seemed to think there was not sufficient discipline for 
the young. I also obtained from him an interesting account of 
the removal to the British Museum, by his father, of the famous 
Elgin marbles. We left the delightful company at eleven 
o'clock ; and I can only add that this visit will long be remem- 
bered by myself and party as one of the happiest events of our 
summer pilgrimage. 



A WINTER IN THE SOUTH. 



WASHINGTON TO SAVANNAH. 



I LEFT Washington on the 5th of December, 1853, bonnd 
upon a zig-zag journey through the more Southern United 
States ; and I now send you my first sheaf of way-side glean- 
ings. While passing down the beautiful Potomac, my thoughts, 
with my vision, naturally wandered to the peacefQl resting- 
place of our great Patriot Hero, and the inheritance which we 
as a people have received from his deeds was strikingly typified 
by the graceful gulls that followed our steamer ; for, as is the 
case with our country, power and freedom were the chief ele- 
ments of their happiness. In recalling the railroad journey 
through Virginia and North Carolina, I can only say that it 
was to me as a twice-told tale. Of the three cities, Fredericks- 
burg, Richmond, and Petersburgh, the second seems to be the 
only one that is keeping pace with the progress of the age. I 
was forcibly reminded of its importance as the legislative cen- 
tre of a great State, by the fact that, among the familiar faces 
that I met, there was a member of the Legislature with whom 
I had hunted deer among the highlands of the Kanawha, and 
another with whom I had fished for sea trout off the sandy 
shores of Accomac, and whose residences are separated by no 
less than three hundred miles. The monotony of the scenery 
along the route in question was pleasantly relieved by a glance 
down the valley of Rappahannock, a stroll under the rickety 
bridges and among the Islands of James river at the head of 
tide water, and a view of the moss-enveloped trees which skirt 
the Roanoke ; to which might be added an occasional turpen- 
tine distillery, a steam saw-mill, a cotton press and gin, and a 



96 WASHINGTON TO SAVANNAH. 

negro corn-husking scene, in which toil and hilarity were most 
agreeably united. Our only fellow-passenger worthy of note 
was a blind missionary, who informed me that he was an Epis- 
copalian, had lost his sight while preaching to the sable child- 
ren of Africa, was travelling titrough the country in behalf of 
his favorite society, only attended by a colored servant, and 
whose gentle words and self-denying occupation convinced me 
that he was a true and noble Christian. I spent a night at 
Wilmington, and what I there experienced made me sigh for a 
camp-fire on the Upper Mississippi or the coast of Labrador, 
and wonder that so glorious a State as North Carolina should 
contain within its borders such wretched accommodations for 
the traveller, and such vindictive swarms of the insect race. 

I crossed the eastern portion of South Carolina by a railroad 
of such excessive newness that some dozen miles of the route 
were necessarily past over in post coaches. A pleasanter drive, 
however, I never enjoyed in the wake of a locomotive : and as 
I remembered the peculiar characteristics of a sea voyage from 
Wilmington to Charleston, I doubt not that a feeling of secu- 
rity constituted one of the charms of the inland journey. But 
the train of cars in which I took my seat for the central por- 
tion of the State, was almost the very first that had taken any 
passengers, and, as many detentions occurred, and no cheerful 
station-houses had yet been erected where refreshments could 
be procured, the journey resembled a kind of exploration expe- 
dition into an unknown land. And the romantic illusion was 
by no means dispelled by the circumstance that, as we had 
brought no food with us, we were hard pressed by hunger, and 
that one of our passengers, an Arkansas gentleman, occasion- 
ally regaled us with mournful strains from a violin, which, with 
a gold watch, a huge cane, and a cloak, comprised his whole 
travelling equipment. In his way, this person was an oddity. 
He proclaimed himself a citizen of the world, and was travelling 
in search of a wife. He said he had been down East to see 
the Yankees, had caught a glimpse of Mr. ^useum Barnum 
and Mrs. Harriet Stowe ; that he had well nigh spent all his 
money, and must soon begin to borrow; and that if the cholera 



WABHIKGTON TO 8AVANKAH. 97 

did not nab him in New Orleans, he hoped before long to be 
dancing the bran dance with the girls of Arkansas. To the 
mnsio of this man's fiddle it was that we were ferried across the 
Great Pedee river, which is associated in the minds of all his- 
torical readers with the revohitionary exploits of Marion and 
his brave men, and upon the banks of which oar general regaled 
a British officer with a mess of roasted sweet potatoes* As to 
the railway itself, when I found that it was as smooth and com- 
fortable as any at the North, I liras surprised to learn that it 
had been built exclusively by negro labor, and that an intelli- 
gent slave occupied the post of assistant superintendent. 

The first novelty that attracted my attention after leaving 
Gape Fear river was a continuation of the long-leaved pine 
forests which cover the eastern portion of North Carolina. 
Here as well as there the very air had a piney smell, and pitch, 
tar, rosin, and turpentine were the prominent themes on every 
tongue. The sap of the pine tree is obtained by tapping, which 
operation is performed three or four times a year ; and after 
doing good service for about five years the older trees are con- 
verted into lumber and the younger ones protected with care 
for future use. Cotton and corn fields came into view only at 
distant intervals; but then the cart-loads of sweet potatoes 
and ground or pea^-nuts which were ofiered for sale at the cross 
roads, proved conclusively that there was no scarcity of the good 
things of life on the neighboring plantations. 

But really the great charm of a journey through South 
Carolina consists in her cypress swamps. To a Northerner 
they are unique, and to the lover of the picturesque superb. 
Not only does the road already alluded to run through many of 
them, but the same is true of the continuation to Augusta, in 
Oeorgia. Though their general aspect is dismal in the extreme, 
the continuous cypress columns, with their tops reaching to an 
immense height, and heavily festooned with the drooping grey 
moss of this Southern land, are grand and beautiful to an un- 
common degree. They remind orfe of the patriarchs of the 
oMen times, and like them seem to link whole centuries into a 
single life. They rise out of a soil that is perpetually covered 



98 WASHINGTON TO SAVANNAH. 

with water, and while this liquid is commonly tinged witk a 
dark wine color bj the roots of the juniper and aquatic plants, 
flowers without number, during the spring and summer, make a 
kind of twilight in the more shady recesses, and load the air 
with fragrance. The vines, which frequently climb the stupen- 
dous trunks, and then branch off to find a pillow of moss or 
resting place in the tops of other trees, are often larger than 
the heaviest cables of a frigate, and I have fancied that they 
looked down with pride upon* the bay, the holly, and palmetto, 
the evergreen creepers and cypress cones which cluster below. 
The mind oppressed with gloom will find enough in these soli- 
tudes to feast its daintiest fancies upon ; for the snake, the 
lizard, and wild beast may be every where seen, while the joyous 
and hopeful spirit will find music enough in these forest aisles 
to increase its happiness, and make it bless the birds for their 
sweet minstrelsy. 

But a night view of one of these cypress swamps is a thing 
never to be forgotten, and, were it not for the moon and stars 
and a cloudless sky, I am persuaded few solitary travellers could 
endure their deso^tion without real pain. Fit places would 
they be for the admirers of Byron to read his night-mare poem 
of ^'Darkness." I looked upon them and into them, however, 
from the window of a comfortable car, and I remember that in 
one of them there was an encampment of negroes who had been 
working on the road, and who, on a dry spot and around an 
immense light-wood fire, were danclhg away the midnight hours 
to the music of banjo and fiddle. The scene was as romantic 
as could well be imagined, and the effect of the hanging mosses, 
which received and reflected back the fire light, was like that of 
a hundred chandeliers hanging from the roof of a great Gothic 
temple. I remember, too, that whenever the train of cars came 
to a halt on the borders of these swamps, as was frequently the 
case, a number of negroes bearing bright torches would start 
suddenly into view, and though their real object was to see 
that all was right with the wheels before crossing the trellised 
causeways, yet they sometimes seemed like evil spirits gathering 
angrily around the locomotive monster which had dared to pen- 
etrate their forest home. 



WASHINaTON TO SAVANNAH. 99 

Just before quitting the western border of South Carolina, I 
cast a single thought upon the pleasant and prosperous city of 
Charleston, which I had before visited, and upon the many 
chivalrous and distinguished citizens, the great and good Cal- 
houn, the admired Simms and learned Bachman, who have done 
so much for the fame of the Palmetto state. With the fine 
location, broad streets, and thriving aspect of Augusta I was of 
course well pleased; but the weather was cold and cheerless, 
and I soon took the cars, running upon another unfinished road, 
for Savannah* Along this route the country is undulating, 
sparsely settled, and although pine forests predominate, we 
here discovered a decided change in the charaoter of the vege- 
tation. The fan-like palmetto is more luxuriant than it is in 
the Carolinas, and the ever-green magnolia, with its gorgeous 
leaves, and bearing in its season a stupendous but most lovely 
and fragrant flower, and the live oak, also an evergreen, with 
shawl like mosses hanging from every bough, here rivet the 
attention at each turn, and speak more plainly than words to 
the traveller that he is approaching a climate of perpetual 
summer. 

And now I am in the charming city of Savannah, whose 
situation, on a high bank of its parent river, proves the founder 
thereof, Oglethorpe, to have been a man of taste and judgment. 
The place is regularly laid out, abounds in substantial but not 
flaidhy buildings, is completely embowered in evergreen oaks 
and other picturesque trees, and contains a greater number of 
ventilators, in the shape of public squares, than any city in the 
Union. Although the centre of an extensive commercial busi- 
ness, and having a lively appearance, yet, from the fact that 
its streets are not paved, but sandy, it is as noiseless as a coun- 
try village. Its public buildings are tasteful, and about its 
private residences, which are generally approached, even in 
winter, through beds of flowers, there is an air of home-like 
comfort which is quite refreshing^ and its hotels dre well kept, 
and not inelegant in their accommodations. The position of 
the city is just sufficiently elevated to overlook the shipping in 
the harbor, and from a promenade at the eastern extremity an 



100 WASHINGTON TO SAVANNAH. 

interesting prospect is obtained, comprehending a long reach 
of the Savannah river, an extensive island of rice fields, and a 
broad expanse of level country, dotted with oaks and willows, 
and skirted in the extreme distance by a line of elevated forest, 
fading away to the ocean. The society of the town is refined, 
polite, and hospitable, and pride of family is a predominating 
characteristic of the inhabitants, who are in general sufficiently 
wealthy to support their position, and at the same time too 
sensible to make themselves unpopular by undue pretensions. 

.On taking an early wi&lk through the market, I. found it 
abundantly supplied with vegetables, game, and fish — ^sea-trout, 
whiting, and black sea-bass — and also with an occasional round 
of beef, all the way from New York. Negroes, men, women, 
and children, were the only dealers out of the good things 
of life, and a more jovial set of creatures is seldom met with 
anywhere; and while waiting for their customers, the prin- 
cipal employment of the market people seemed to be eating 
sugar-cane, of which they are very fond, and which is sold at 
the rate of two cents for a single cane. I wondered, as I took 
one in my hand, whether this was the same kind of "sweet 
cane from afar country," spoken of by the Prophet Jeremiah. 

On attending the leading churches of the city, I was edified 
in each of them with a truly eloquent sermon, and especially 
so while listening to Bishop Elliott. *I also enjoyed a most 
agreeable walk through the Savannah Park, which borders the 
city on the south. It is quite an extensive affair, surrounded 
with a handsome iron railing, completely filled with majestic 
pine trees, and is the favorite resort, on erery pleasant after- 
noon, of the old who would forget their troubles, and the young 
who would meet and have a happy talk with their friends and 
companions. 

The climate of Savannah is genial and salubrious ; but, 
though the city itself is considered healthy, the surrounding 
country is subject to malarian diseases. But those who would 
defend it on this score have quite a serious stumbling-block to 
overcome. The number of people who die here is not a correct 
criterion of its healthfulness ; for, occupying as it does the 



WABHmaTON TO SAVANNAH. 101 

position of a half-way stopping-place between the Northern 
States and Florida^ many invalids are overtaken at this point 
by death while fleeing from the blasts of the North, or return- 
ing home from a vain search for health in the South. As may 
be imagined, therefore, the cemeteries of Savannah are objects 
of special attention with its citizens and of interest to the 
fttranger. 

The first of these which I visited was Bonaventure ; and 
though I know that the drive thereto was along a wooded avenue 
three or four miles in length, composed of the water oak, pride 
of India, cabbage palmetto, and magnolia, that overlooks one 
of the outlets of the Savannah river and a salt marsh or savan« 
nah landscape, and contains many tasteful monuments, yet, in 
my recollection of it, I can only see its majestic and venerable 
trees. I question whether a more superb forest of live oak can 
any where be found. Though evidently planted by the hand 
of man in regular order, they appear to be as old as the bed of 
the neighboring river. Their fantastic tops are everywhere 
woven, as it were, into a kind of stupendous net-work, sur- 
mounted with a canopy of deep green leaves, from which, as 
well as from the enormous serpent-like limbs stretched forth in 
every direction, hang a thousand festoons of the graceful gray 
moss, which ever clings to the live oak as if determined that in 
itself and the parent tree beauty and grandeur should be per- 
petually symbolized. At times, too, this moss falls from above 
and clings lovingly to the blackened trunks of the old trees, 
and then* again steals down their huge branches, encircling 
them in its soft folds, and only ceasing its apparently sportive 
movements when coming in contact with luxuriant beds of 
green mosses and vines growing upon the horizontal portion of 
the limbs. And when the wind chanced to enter this forest 
sanctuary, charmingly indeed and with a kind of life-like grace 
would the tendril mosses sway to and fro, and nothing was 
wanting — ^since there were present an occasional gGmpse of the 
blue sky, and the familiar voices of the jay, sparrow, wren, 
and blue-bird — to complete the strange and very lovely scene. 
There was something really glorious in the aspect of this 



102 WASHINaTON TO SAVANNAH. 

retinue of giant trees, and, after divesting my mind of the dis- 
agreeable personal associations of their proprietorship, I could 
not help gazing upon them with affection, and I felt that their 
outstretched arms bespoke a kindred sentiment. As I walked 
among them, and now and then discovered a peerless magnolia 
casting its shadow upon a grav« overgrown with- the rose- 
bushes and creeping plants, while the twain were themselves 
enveloped in the neutral-tinted shade of the towering oaks, I 
felt that if aught on earth could make one in love with death, 
it would be a combination of natyral objects such as I then be- 
held. I thought upon the dead, but before I could repeat the 
familar words, ^^ peace to their ashes !" the oaken boughs and 
the swaying mosses seemed to take them from my lips and waft 
them in a hymn-like tone far upward to the sky. 

In returning from Bonaventure I took a roundabout course 
for the purpose of visiting a model plantation, where I saw no 
less than one hundred negroes in a single field, which they 
were preparing to receive the spring planting of cotton and 
com. Some two-thirds of them were able-bodied men, and the 
remainder buxom women ; and as many of the former wore red 
flannel shirts, and the heads of the latter were crowned with 
fanciful handkerchiefs or turbans, and as an occasional mul<^ 
and frequent bonfires were also visible, and nearly every indi- 
vidual was smoking a wooden pipe, the picture which they pre- 
sented was decidedly interesting. That they were happy was 
quite apparent ; and when I expressed surprise at their lei- 
surely way of ploughing and hoeing, my companion 'informed 
me that each person had a limited task to perform, and that 
this was usually completed by three or four o'clock in the after- 
noon ; by which arrangement the slaves had an opportunity of 
following their own inclinations. One side of the above field 
was skirted with a grove of luxuriant trees, through which lay 
our road, and in whose shadow were many negro children play- 
ing and frolicking, but whose ostensible employment was bring- 
ing a good dinner to their parents. In this vicinity it was, 
too, that I had my first good view of an extensive rice-field, 
which was so ditched, danmied up, and scientifically arranged 



WASfllNOTON TO SAVANNAH. 



103 



that it might be flooded at pleasure by the salt water in its 
vicinitj, which is indispensable to the growth and nourishment 
of the rice grain. And on a green fronting the plain but com- 
fortable residence of the proprietor of this plantation I saw 
three or four magnificent specimens of the live-oak standing 
by themselves, the diameter of whose shadows measured from 
a hundred to a hundred and fifty feet. 

But, notwithstanding Bonaventure, the most convenient and 
popular burial-place belonging to Savannah, is Laurel Ceme- 
tery. It has been recently laid out, and, occupying as it does 
a suni^ position in the immediate vicinity of a virgin forest 
where thousands of birds have built their nests, it is, as all 
such places should be, distinguished for its cheerfulness. It 
abounds in handsome monuments ; but the leading feature in 
this way is the memorial of a young husband to his young wife, 
representing a Gothic portal with a heart suspended over an 
open Bible, bearing appropriate inscriptions, and carved from 
the purest white marble. 

Not far removed from Laurel Cemetery, is the burial-place 
of the black population. Here the monuments are brick with 
marble slabs, and frequently of wood. Some of thfi inscrip- 
tions I thought worth copying for their novelty. Over the 
grave of a child, for example, are these words : 

" Sweet withered lily, farewell/' 

The fate of a man who had been drowned, is thus commemo- 
rated: 



" Sacred to the memory of Robert Spencer, who came to his Death by 
a Boat, Jaly 9th, 1840, aged 21 years. 

" Reader, as you am now, so once I ; 
And as I am now so mus you be shortly. Amen.'' 

On the monument of a woman are the following touching 
words: 

" Go home, mother, dry up your weeping tears. 
God's will be done." 

On a slab, erected to the memory of a cooper who had been 



104 WASHINGTON TO SAVANNAH. 

killed in tightening the hoops of a keg of powder which ex- 
ploded during the operation, is this carious sentence : 

■ 

" This stone was erected by the members of the Axe Company, Coopers, 
and Committee of the 2d African Charch of Savannah, for the purpose 
of haying a Herse for benevolent purposes, of which he was the first 
sexton/' 

» 

From the above specimens, it cannot be questioned that 

Horatian philosophers would have a fine field for their genius 
in the negro grave-yard of Savannah. 

In a long and pleasant qonversation which I have had in this 
city with William B. Hodgson, Esq., many highly interest- 
ing particulars came to my knowledge respecting the extinct 
gigantic quadrupeds of the coast of Georgia, as developed by 
the discovery of their fossil remains in no less than three 
widely-separated localities. The names by which these ani- 
mals are known are the megatherium, mastodom giganteum, 
mammoth, hippopotamus, and the horse. Their fossil remains 
consisted of teeth, vertebrae, tusks, and skulls, and they gene- 
rally occurred in groups, and in some cases the greater part of 
the bones of the same skeleton were found in immediate juxta- 
position. When first uncovered many of the specimens were 
quite perfect, but on being exposed to the air began to crumble, 
and all the specimens were found at nearly the same depth be- 
low the surface and embedded in the same formation, resting 
on yellow sand, and enveloped in recent clay alluvium. The 
testimony adduced to prove that these relics are really what 
they are alleged to be, consists in the united testimony of many 
eminent geologists both in this country and England. The 
most important of these fossils are now in the cabinet of the 
Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia ; and though to 
the casual observer they present only the appearance of a few 
uncouth and formless substances, yet to the Christian philo- 
sopher most eloquently do they proclaim the power and un- 
searchable "vtisdom of the Creator. 



FLORIDA. 



I OAMB from Sayannali to within twenty miles of St. Angus- 
tine in the good steamboat St. John, and by what is known as 
the inland route into the river St. John. The coast of Georgia 
along which we sailed possesses many features which were new 
to me ; and as these, with few exceptions, are known to mark 
the Atlantic coast of the United States from Chesapeake Bay 
to the Mississippi, an allusion to them may not be uninteresting 
in this place. Along the Georgia section the prominent sea 
islands number no less than ten, and they are generally covered 
with a luxuriant growth of forest trees called hummocks. They 
are comprised within a belt of about twelve miles from the sea 
to the main land; and attached to all of them, on the inner 
side as well as to the main land, are very extensive salt marshes, 
which are usually cut up by tide-water streams, forming the 
natural outlets to the various rivers on the coast. The sea side 
of these islands is commonly a white sandy beach, interspersed 
with occasional spots of marine vegetation ; and while the hum- 
mock land is held in high estimation for its good qualities in 
producing the long staple or Sea Island cotton, the interior 
marshes abound in sedges and rushes of several varieties. The 
basins of salt water or sounds which border the main land are 
generally so linked together as to form a continuous and secure 
navigation for the smaller class of vessels ; but, instead of being 
covered with the white wings of commerce, by the acquiescence 
of Southern enterprise, they swarm with water fowl throughout 
tbt entire year. To the casual observer the appearances of this 
coast would seem to indicate that the land in ages past had 

VOL. II. — ^H 



106 FLORIDA. 

trespassed upon the sea; but the students of geology affirm, 
upon the strength of phenomena presented by the tide-water 
marshes, that the sea itself has been the invader, and that where 
once the cypress, live oak, and magnolia bloomed in primeval 
luxuriance, the porpoise and devil fish now sport in undisturbed 
freedom. 

And here, in passing, I would devote a short paragraph to 
the devil fish. This sea monster I am only acquainted with by 
reputation, having never seen one; but I know that there is a 
specimen of his satanic majesty in the Philadelphia museum ; 
that he belongs to the Oartilagmous class of fishes and to the 
family of Rays; that he is an uncouth four-cornered creature, 
with a creditable tail, and varies in length from eight to eighteen 
feet ; that he is very active, has a huge and frightful mouth but 
feeds upon small.fish; also, that he is found in considerable num- 
bers along the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia; that he is 
partial to the sounds, and is apparently of no use, unless it be 
to gratify the taste for sporting, and try the fortitude of its 
chief annihilator, Hon. William Elliott, of Beaufort Sound, 
South Carolina. This well-known planter and accomplished 
gentleman has for many years past devoted himself to the study 
as well as the harpooning of the devil fish, and, for private cir- 
culation, has written a small but highly interesting volume on 
the subject of Carolina sports in general. For him to be drawn 
about for hours at a time by this fish in a fairy-like boat and 
after a fairy-like fashion is by no means an uncommon occur- 
rence; but, while the sport must be exciting in the extreme, it 
is quite venturesome, and requires an uncommon proportion of 
both nerve and sinew. The book referred to is, in its way, one 
of the best and most original in the language, and an edition 
for general circulation ought to be published, and would be 
well received by the sportsmen and lovers of natural history 
throughout the land. « 

Many of the passages through which our steamer had to 
make her way were very narrow, so that we were constantly 
getting aground, and, as the banks were muddy, it was a noV^l 
sight to see the negro sailors go ashore in mire up to their 



FLORIDA. 107 

• 

waists for the purpose of planting the stakes, by which and a 
stoat hawser we were set afloat again. Upon the mud banks in 
question I noticed a small variety of the oyster which were 
scattered along the shore in immense qnantities, sometimes in 
isolated clusters and then again in layers or beds of considerable 
extent. Though quite small, I found them well flayored. I 
heard them spoken of as the raccoon oyster, and was told that 
they are so called on account of their being the fayorite food 
of the raccoon in this section of country. The feeding time 
with the four-legged animal is of course when the tide is low; 
and the same remark might almost be made in regard to the 
oyster itself, since it is not uncommon for this intelligent shell 
fish to seize with its pearly hands the foot of the eagle, the 
crow, or the crane, while these bipeds are sauntering along the 
muddy shores. As to the game found along this coast, I am 
told it is inexhaustible. In their proper seasons and their 
favorite haunts the deer and turkey, the woodcock and snipe, 
the partridge, quail, and curlew, as well as many kinds of the 
duck race, are slaughtered in marvelous numbers. The deer 
are hunted with dogs and horses; and one gentleman whom I 
met on the steamboat, and who showed to me a five-hundred 
dollar gun just received from England, informed me that, within 
a few weeks past, he and four compcAiions had killed in three 
days no less than thirty nine. Cultivated fields along our route 
were few and far between ; but I was told that all the isli^nds 
contained highly cultivated plantations, where cotton and com 
flourished almost spontaneously, upon which were employed 
from four to fourteen hundred slaves ; and where the society, 
though comparatively isolated, is distinguished for its refine- 
ment and warm-hearted hospitality. The only towns that our 
steamer visited were Darien, at the mouth of the Altamaha, 
and St. Mary, at the mouth of the river so named. The first 
I saw by moonlight, and it looked imposing ; the second on a 
bright sunny morning, and it was beautiful ; but I imagine that 
the surrounding scenery, with the fragrance of orange groves 
in their midst or neighborhood, did more to make them attrac- 
tive than the habitations. 



^ 



108 FLORIDA. 

The chief noTelty in the vegetable kingdom that attracted 
my attention was the cabbage palmetto, which was sufficiently 
palm-like in its aspect to remind one of oriental scenery. The 
waters through which we passed are said to be filled in the 
summer time with alligators, but none of them were seen during 
our trip ; and I was surprised to learn that, like the bear, they 
remain secreted and partially dormant during the winter^ in 
large holes, which they burrow into the muddy banks. 

In a conversation that I had with our captain he related many 
affecting incidents resulting from the folly in invalids of seeking 
the South after their diseases have been pronounced incurable. 
Many persons with feeble gait, hollow cough, and the hectic 
flush upon their cheeks had he assisted to their state-rooms on 
his vessel at Savannah bound to Florida, who in a few months 
made the return trip in their coffins. But he gave it as his 
opinion that the great majority of those who hopelessly jour- 
neyed to the South for their health, were sent away from their 
homes by the physicians who desired to be spared the pain of 
witnessing the death of their patients. The idea struck me 
with astonishment; and yet two of my fellow passengers, who 
appeared too feeble to survive another day, and who told me 
they had been driven away by their physicians, convinced me 
of its truth. Incipient dbnsumption may undoubtedly be ban- 
ished for a time by seeking this genial climate ; but it were 
better, far better, to die at an early day among one's kindred, 
and surrounded with the comforts of home, than to die a few 
weeks or months later in a strange place among strangers and 
subjected to all the privations of a sparsely-settled country. 

But, after a short outside detour, our little steamer has crossed 
a surf-covered bar, passed into still water, between extensive 
beaches of white sand, covered with immense flocks of the white 
and gray pelican, and is quietly pursuing her romantic voyage 
up the river St. John or Welaka, as the Seminoles called it, 
the meaning of which is Lake River. This stream is justly the 
pride of Florida ; and, what is remarkable, it is the only con- 
siderable one in the Union which runs in a northerly direction 
from its fountain-head. Its name indeed is the only unoriginal 



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FLORIDA. 109 

ih'ng about it ; but this is quite appropriate, for, like its apos- 
tolic namesake, it performs its allotted duty in the wildem&s, 
and where reeds without number are shaken in the wind. I 
ascended the river in the steamer, and when tired of sailing I 
left it at Picolata, and from that point crossed over to St. 
Augustine, on the sea-board, in a private carriage. The waters 
of the St. John are broad and lake-like, say from two to four 
miles wide, from ten to twenty feet deep, flowing without any 
perceptible current, of a dark wine color, but clear and some- 
what sluggish. Its shores are generally low, scarcely, ever at- 
taining an elevation of fifteen feet, and, though commonly 
skirted with forests, composed of pine, cypress, live oak, mag- 
nolia, Spanish bayonet, and palmetto, yet the monotony of the 
scenery is often relieved by broad reaches of swamp or grass 
bgid. Islands and points of land having the aspect of islands 
are numerous, and, during the calm weather, their only mission 
would seem to be to rival the clouds in harmless vanity and 
admire their manifold charms reflected in the waters which sur- 
round them. They give sustenance, however, to a great variety 
of game, including deer and turkeys; their shores swarm with 
water-fowl, and in the shadow of almost every oak overhanging 
its sandy or reedy banks may be seen a sentinel crane or bittern. 
Generally speaking the shores of this noble river are as wild as 
they were centuries ago ; and the loneliness of a sail upon its bosom 
is only enhanced by the solitary vessels stealing away as if among 
the trees the occasional rafts with their lazy navigators, and 
the few 8team8aw-mill8 which, to the poetic eye, appear to view, 
and depart more like visions than realities. But those engaged 
in the lumbering business here are chiefly Northerners, and 
they of course are thinking more of dollars than of nature and 
the picturesque. Within the last' three years they have built 
some twenty steam mills at as many eligible points on the river, 
costing from six to twelve thousand dollars each ; and their 
lumber finds a ready market not only in the Northern States, but 
in the West Indies. This new spirit of enterprise, coupled with 
the fact that the winter climate of Florida is getting to be con- 
sidered a certain cure for many incipient diseases, is doing much 



110 FLORIDA. 

• 

to make this wilderness blossom into a blessing to the human 
fainily ; and it is natural and right that watering placdb and 
small villages should spring up in every direction, as they un- 
doubtedly will, albeit their presence may detract from the lonely 
beauty of its scenery. 

The varieties of fish found in the St. John are quite limited; 
the only game fish being the black-bass of the west and north- 
west, but which is here universally and erroneously designated 
a trout In these waters, however, it grows to a great size, 
sometimes attaining a weight of twenty pounds. By the natives 
it is taken with the minnow and a piece of fiannel which they 
call a bob; and as I knew by intuition, before I saw it, that it 
was not a trout, and am ready to declare that the common 
trout is found nowhere in Florida, so am I disposed to assert, 
that the fish in question, if angled for with a fly, as they do in 
Lake George and the St. Lawrence, would be found to afford 
first-rate sport. And it is a singular coincidence, which I may 
mention here, that while the St. John and the St. Lawrence 
are the only rivers emptying into the Atlantic which contain 
the beautiful and delicious fresh water fish correctly called the 
black-bass, their waters are both unvisited by the invaluable 
shad. If I am correctly informed, this fish has never been 
found in the St. John, (although its cousin, the herring, run up 
the stream by thousands,) and, if ever taken in the St. Law- 
rence, they are there very scarce and very puny, and held in 
no better esteem than the herring. The red fish of Florida, 
which is a species of mullet, is a capital fish for the table. 
By the Indians they are killed with the bow and arrow, while 
the Spanish inhabitants have a mode peculiar to themselves. 
They have a circular net, ten feet in diameter, which they 
throw with dexterity, so that it opens while it fiies, and having 
lead around it, all the fish that are under it are enclosed, and 
then the cord, which is retained in the hand, is drawn, and thus 
the fish are bagged. 

In navigating the- St. John the traveller may go as far as 
Pilatka in a steamboat of good dimensions, but when he is 
anxious, as he certainly will be, to go from fifty to a hundred 



FLORIDA. Ill 

miles through a chain of most heautiful lakes, he mnst ship 
jimsdf on hoard of a steamboat jnst large enough, ^'and 
nothing more/' to deserve the name* Throughout this region 
the vegetation is rank and summer-like during the whole year, 
and, though there is positively no end to the wilderness pictures 
which present themselves at every turn of the tiny vessel, the 
voyage soon becomes monotonous, and the heart of a Northerner 
sighs for the scenes and associations of home. I would rather 
read of the ^'land of the cypress and myrtle" than spend my 
.days among its reptiles and in its enervating climate ; and if I 
can only enjoy the orange and lemon, the banana, the pine- 
apple, and olive, under a roof mantled with snow, I will relin- 
quish the pleasure of gathering them to the negroes, whose 
business it is to do so, in the valley of the St. John and other 
portions of Florida. As the sources of the river St. John have 
never been surveyed, it is impossible to give its exact length. 
Indeed some of its native explorers inform me that the canoes 
of the Indians have, in times past, undoubtedly traversed its 
basin even to the most southerly extremity of the State, thereby 
passing through At-See-Nahoapay or Big Cyprus Swamp, the 
Lake called Okee'Cfh(hbee or Big Water, and Pah-hay-o-kee or 
Grass Water, commonly called the Everglades. During a rainy 
season this was undoubtedly possible ; but. if future explora- 
tions should prove the existence of such a communication, it 
oould then be said of the St. John that no less than three of 
the great wonders of the United States had conspired to form 
its cradle o^ fountain-head. The Big Swamp, now the home 
of the few Seminole Indians remaining in Florida, is said to be 
about one hundred and fifty miles in extent, and a thousand- 
fold more desolate than its dismal competitor in Virginia ; and 
in regard to its varied and luxuriant vegetation, its large trees, 
heavy mosses, venomous reptiles, damp atmosphere, and prime- 
val solitude and gloom, is probably not surpassed by any other 
spot of the green earth. From this swamp, on one way up the 
basin of the St. John, and yet in a southerly direction, we glide 
into the large and still more lonely lake called Big Water, which 
is some forty miles in diameter, and whose waters are only 



112 FLOBIDA. 

disturbed by tropical winds and myriads of the feathered race* 
Bordering this lake upon the south, and extending theaefrom 
almost to the Keys of Florida, a distance of more than a hun- 
dred miles, are located the famous and wonderful Everglades. 
Here we have what appears to be an emerald ocean, filled with 
innumerable islands, Tarjring in size from one acre to two thou- 
sand. The grass which gives the plain its brilliant color grows 
to the height of ten feet, and is remarkable for its triangular 
shape and saw-like edges, and springs from a bed of water, 
from one to four feet in depth, which is perfectly clear, and 
swayed to and fro after the fashion of a tide. The islands are 
circular in shape, high and dry, composed of a black and very rich 
soil, and always covered with « solid mass of the rankest vege- 
tation, where the oak with its long beard lords it over the 
orange, where the magnolia vies with unnumbered namelen 
plants in filling the air with fragrance, and where the mock- 
ing-bird and the parrot build their nests in perpetual solitude. 
And now, as the object of this letter was to conduct the rea- 
der to St. Augustine, it is high time that I should leave the St. 
John and cross the belt. of country lying between the river and 
the ocean. In passing, however, I must pay my respects to 
Picolata, which, like many other Florida towns, figures largely 
on the maps, but consists only of one house and a long rickety 
wharf. At this point a grove of mossy oaks will be viewed 
with peculiar pleasure by every one ; and while the antiquarian 
may turn aside to peer into the nooks and comers of an ancient 
Spanish fort, long since razed to the ground, as ti'adition says, 
by a party of savages, the lover of books and authors may visit 
the log cabin in the neighborhood of one Williams, who has 
published a very readable book about the history and natural 
productions of Florida, and here leads the life of a literary re- 
cluse. The drive from Picolata to this place is over a level 
sandy road, through a pine forest interspersed with swamps 
and hummocks, or islands of unusually rank vegetation, and 
across many charmingly clear streams. I made the journey on 
a quiet moonlight night, and, whilst my ear was pleased with 
the croaking of frogs, the singing of the wood cricket, and the 



FLORIDA* 118 

hooting of owls, mj eye wandered among the columns of the 
forestyili ^^ intricate mazes lost," and watched with interest the 
glancing of the brilliant moonlight upon the leaves and grasses 
all drooping under a heavy dew, as well as upon the blossoms 
of the yellow jessamine which filled the air with fragrance. 
My coachman on this occasion was a negro, and possessed of 
sufficient intelligence to inform me, as we drove across two par- 
ticular swamps, that in one of them, during the Indian troubles, 
the late amiable and accomplished Major Searle was wounded 
by a party of Seminoles, and that in the other, a number of 
play-actors, on their way to St. Augustine, were murdered by 
the notorious chief Wild Cat and his followers, and who, on a 
subsequent occasion, made his appearance in a pitched battle 
decked out in the costume of Richard the Third. 



^ 



ST. AUGUSTINE. 



As this Augustine is the oldest, so is it the oddest town in 
the United States. I propose not to go at all into its interest- 
ing and romantic history, although if I had time and opportu- 
nity to rummage among the archives of Spain and England, I 
would like nothing better than to write its history in full ; for since 
the time that its site was usurped by Melendez from the Chief 
of the Tamassees, just two hundred and eighty-nine years ago, 
it has been the scene alike of Spanish rule and persecution, of 
Huguenot misfortune, of Buccaneer outrages, of British valor 
and conquest, and of savage revenge, until we find it, as it is 
now, the least thriving and in its aspect the most foreign city 
belonging to our Confederacy. We may indeed say of Florida in 
general that, as the scene of continued changes and violence, its 
history is more ntelancholy than that of any of its sister states. 
War and bloodshed have, from the earliest times, been its chief 
inheritance ; and the Fountain of Perpetual Touth, with the 
gold mines that helped to give it a universal fame, have long 
since melted into air, and will only be remembered in future 
years, when connected with the names of De Leon and De 
Soto, as the fables of the land. But, as the sword and the spear 
have given place to the plough and the pruning-hook, and 
peace is resting in all her borders, we may now hope that what 
has heretofore been the arena of discord antl carnage, will here- 
after be the home of prosperity and contentment. 

My object in this letter is simply to describe St. Augustine 
as it now appears. The position of the city is upon the extreme 
point of a tongue of low sandy land, formed by the junction of 



ST. AUGU8TIHK. 115 

the St. Sebastian river and the small bay of North river, which 
affords a safe harbor for the smaller class of vessels ; and while 
the country on the west is low, sandy, and covered with a pine 
forest, the prospect on the east comprehends the flat island of 
Anastatia, famous for a shell stone or coquina quarry, and sur- 
mounted by a lighthouse, originally a Spanish lookout, and be- 
yond which sweeps the Atlantic ocean. The plan of the city, 
which is in the style of the ancient Spanish military towns, is a 
parallelogram, traversed longitudinally by two very narrow 
streets, intersected by equally narrow streets, all of them un- 
paved, whereby a number of squares are formed, around which 
are built of wood and occasionally of stone, the few hundred 
dwarfish, fantastic, ancient, dilapidated, and extensively-balco- 
nied and gable-roofed houses which characterize the town. Ton 
enter the place on the landward side by a common bridge span- 
ning the marshy Sebastian ; and It is protected from the incur- 
sions of the ocean by a massive sea-wall, which is the fashionable 
promenade, and from which projects the one solitary wharf of 
the port, whose commerce is represented by the occasional arrival 
of a steamboat from Savannah and some h^lf-dozen fishing boats. 
In every direction are unmistakable evidences of the fact that 
fire and time have done their best to make this spot the home 
of desolation ; and while the more ancient houses such as the 
residence of some old Governor or an old custom-house, pro- 
claim the opulence and good taste of their builders, many others 
would lead one to suppose that their owners were cramped for 
room and very poor. Ruined mansions and ruined walls pre- 
dominate, with not a few reduced families ; and while the mere 
business man could hardly spend a day here without sighing to 
be away, there is an abundance of material to be found in the 
town and its vicinity to gratify for a long time the lovers of the 
picturesque and a kind-hearted population, of good living and 
fair sporting, and agreeable society, which may all be enjoyed 
under a sky where the rose-tints of summer are almost perpetual, 
and where roses, rich and i:are, bloom throughout the winter, 
and the beautiful date * tree, with the cabbage palmetto and 
orange, vie with the oleander and magnolia in lording it over 



116 ST. AUGUBTINB. 

the more unpretending but not less interesting plants which 
flourish everywhere in this latitude. 

The populationi of St. Augustine is somewhere about twenty- 
five hundred ; and, although it boasts of a small but highly in- 
telligent class of American citizens, a large proportion are de- 
scendants of families who, as the story goes, were deceitfully 
lured to Florida, for selfish purposes, from the island of Minorca, 
by an Englishman named TurnbuU. Though it has changed 
owners a number of times, having passed from the Spaniards to 
the English and back again to the Spaniards, and from them 
purchased by Uncle Sam, the character of its people has un- 
dergone but little change. The Minorcans are chiefly Roman 
Catholics, are a mild and inoSlensive race, and in the small 
ways of fishing and shop keeping, industrious. They live on 
little, and their limited savings are mostly invested in slaves, 
whose services as hired servants yield them a small income. 
Their numerical superiority enables them to elect their own 
city rulers, and, by way of showing their regard for the doc- 
trine of protection, they impose an annual tax upon their own 
slaves of fifteen cents, and upon those owned elsewhere, but 
employed here, a tax of ten dollars. As a community they are 
poor, and yet native paupers are unknown. They are small in 
stature, but delight in large families ; and that they are honest 
is proven by the fact that they do not harbor in their midst 
such an affair as a jail. In their social intercourse the Minor- 
cans are generally somewhat exclusive, for a very good reason, 
no doubt ; and, as a matter of course, the more intelligent and 
refined portion of the community, among whom are several 
Minorcan families, occupy a sphere of their own. The little 
business of the place is carried on by the former class, but it 
may please future visitors to learn that the hotels and boarding- 
houses are all under the management of Southern individuals 
with " Northern principles" of domestic economy. From per- 
sonal experience I can only speak of one of these establishments 
kept by Miss Fatio, a most estimable and popular lady ; and if 
the others are as home-like and comfortable as this, the ancient 
city may well be proud of her houses for the accommodation of 



X 



ST. AUOUBTINB. 117 

travellers and invalids. And thus much, in a general way, of 
the quaint, isolated, famous, and almost useless city of St. 
Augustine. That it abounds in curiosities may well be imagined, 
but the only two that can be understandingly described by the 
pen, are the Castle of St. Mark and the City Plaza. 

St. Mark, though a castle by name, is really nothing more 
than a fortress of great strength, built by the Spanish Govern- 
ment according to the most approved principles of military 
science. By many intelligent people it might be correctly 
deemed a splendid affair ; and yet, in some ofBcial document of 
our Greneral Government, by whose mandate it is sometimes 
called Fort Marion, it has been pronounced merely a ^^ good 
specimen of military architecture.'' It covers a number of 
acres at the northern extremity of the city, and is approached 
through a very picturesque gateway in ruins. It is built of 
coquina stone, with thick walls twenty-one feet high, and its 
four bastioned angles are surmounted with graceful watch- 
towers. The work, which slopes to the water on one side, is 
surrounded on the three others by a broad and deep ditch or 
moat, with perpendicular walls of masonry, over which is thrown 
a bridge to the entrance gate, which was formerly protected by 
a draw. The descent to this bridge is by two flights of wind- 
ing stone steps, at the junction of which is placed a block of 
stone, with a round basin hollowed in the top of it, intended for 
holy water. Above the main entrance are cut in a block the 
Spanish coat of arms, and an inscription in Spanish, which may 
be translated as follows : '' Don Ferdinand the Sixth, being the 
King of Spain, and the Field Marshal Don Alonzo Femandos 
de Herida, being Governor and Captain-General of this place. 
St. Augustine of Florida and its province, hereby declare that 
this fortress was finished in the year 1756. The works were 
directed by the Capt. Engineer Don Pedro de Brazas y Garay." 
The cost of the fortress, which was more than fifty years in 
building, has been estimated at several millions of dollars. 
Whatever that may have been, it has been stated that when the 
builders petitioned the King for one of the later instalments to 
complete it, he replied, that they must either be building it high 
enough to look across the ocean, or of solid silver. 



118 ST. AUGUSTINE. 

So much for the exterior ; and now for a glance at the inte- 
rior of this old fortress. My first and only visit of exploration 
was made in company with a small party of ladies and gentle- 
men, whose talking and langhing voices contrasted strangely 
with the feelings inspired by the gray storm-beaten walls which 
surrounded us, and the rank grasses and weeds, which not only 
covered the earth upon which we trod, but grew in wild profu- 
sion upon the ramparts and parapets of the war-worn ruin. I 
cannot attempt from recollection to give the number of rooms 
and cells that we visited. Among those which interested me 
par.ticularly was the jail-room, whence the Seminole chief <7o-a- 
co(hche, or Wild Cat, and twenty-three of his fellows, made 
their escape through a loop-hole, apparently too narrow to 
admit the smallest human head ; and the story goes, that on the 
day preceding his escape, Wild-Cat informed his great fellow- 
prisoner, Oceola, of his intentions, to which hint the noble bar- 
barian replied ; " I will not go with you ; you may go, and I 
should be glad to have my old father join you, but I cannot. 
They brought me here once, and they would bring me back 
again. Let me alone." The hero. was even then broken- 
hearted, and so he died. The subsequent career of Wild-Cat 
has proven him a knave. 

Another of the cavernous rooms of this old fortress contains 

■ 

an ancient Spanish money chest. So heavy and so huge it 
seemed, that nothing less than horse-power could ever turn the 
key or lift the lid, and resting against it were a pair of massive 
cannon wheels, made of solid mahogany. In another room 
there lay scattered upon the stony floor, in a sleep that could 
hardly experience another waking, a litter of great war-dogs in 
the shape of battered cannon; while members of the same 
family might be seen lying dismantled in every direction in the 
open spaces of the fort. Another and far more curious room 
was that which the builders had designed for a chapel, with 
niches in the solid walls for holy water, and a recess for the 
altar and the crucifix, and where many an old Spaniard must 
have knelt to count their beads and pray only a few mo- 
ments, before their loyalty called upon them to apply the match 



ST. Auausxnns. 119 

Uiat would Bend their civilized or savage enemies by hundreds 
into eternity. 

Bat of all the half-hidden, low-arched rooms in this old fort- 
ress, the one denominated the duBgeon is the most interesting. 
In an accidental manner was it discovered, by the falling in of 
a portion of the rampart attached to the sea wall, and in the 
deepest mystery is its history involved. It came to light soon 
after the fortress had been ceded to the United States, at which 
time, as onr official gidde informed ns, there was found in one 
corner of it a human skeleton, the soles of a pair of shoes, and 
an earthen jug and cup. Not a single other object did its naked, 
slimy, arched walls cover, and these, even after a wall five feet 
in thickness had been broken through, could not be seen with- 
out a torch, so intense was the darkness. When we entered 
this dreadful prison-house the relics had been removed and scat* 
tered, but the same heavy darkness was there, and by the 
match that we lighted we could see nothing but the solemn 
walls and our foot-prints upon the dust-covered floor. Who, if 
the story be true, was the being that perished in this living 
grave ? Of what nation ? What his crime, if indeed he was a 
criminal ? Was he a victim of religious bigotry ? If so, he 
must have been 9 noted one. What a death was that to die ! 
What a subject for thought, the fancied history of that poor 
mortal ! And oh how cheerful and balmy was the pure air of 
heaven, the delicate fragrance of the flowers, and the sight of 
sweetly smiling faces, after we had escaped from this horrible 
place! 

The city square of Augustine, tQ which I have alluded, occu- 
pies a central position in the town, and is quite a characteristic 
ornament. The promenading portion is only partially enclosed, 
and that too with what might be called a post and rail fence, 
and in the centre of it stands a monument some twenty feet 
high, which commemorates the siving of a constitutional basis 
to the Spanish Government. It is one of many which were 
erected in various portions of the Spanish dominions, and, with 
this single exception, the whole of them were demolished by 
order of Ferdinand the YII., on his accession to the throne. 



120 • ST. AUGUSTINE. 

It is quite a graceful affair, and its only inscription is '^ Plaza 
de la Constitution." Along the several streets which bound 
the square are situated the principal public buildings of the 
place. On the west is an oU dilapidated mansion, which was 
the residence of a former Spanish Governor, but is now used as 
a hall of justice and for the public offices ; on the north is a 
half-demolished Catholic church, interesting from its antiquity, 
with bare stone walls and a stone floor, several images, and a 
flat piece of mason work running up to a point in front, in 
which are cut four window-like holes, containing each a partly 
cracked bell ; on the east is a small market-house, which is 
never occupied after sunrise, according to a peculiar custom of 
the place ; and the bell which summons the Catholic population 
to mass, warns the market people to suspend their dealings in 
the things of life ; and on the south side of the square is a small 
but neat and woll-proportioned Episcopal church, in which, as 
well as in the Presbyterian church in another part of the town, 
may be enjoyed at the present time unusually good preaching, 
from the lips of two talented gentlemen. The prevailing reli- 
gion of Augustine, however, is the Catholic, and, as Christmas 
is at hand, I have had an opportunity to witness the custom 
which in this town invariably precedes the Carnival. Masquer- 
ading parties are formed by the young men of Minorcan blood, 
and with bands of music they parade the streets until midnight, 
and, by virtue of the forbearance of the Protestant population, 
enter their dwellings without ceremony, and cut up their fan- 
tastic capers ; after which, they retire to some rendezvous in 
their own quarter of the town, and spend the remainder of the 
night in dancing and festivity, to which they are universally 
addicted. 

An amusing spectacle is also exhibited at the close of Carni- 
val week, in honor of St. Peter, the fisherman of Galilee, by 
which his professional skill in the use of the net, is attempted 
to be illustrated. An eye-witniss describes it as follows : ^^ As 
I passed along one of the streets, my attention was arrested by 
a motley crowd of black and white people. I was at first at a 
loss to account for the rabble and the horrid noises they made. 



ST. AUGUSTINE. 121 

Oil a nearer approach I perceived two half-grown men heading 
a company of maskers, who were clothed in a fisherman's dress. 
Over the shotdder of each was hung a common Spanish net. 
Whenever an unsuspicious person came within range of a cast, 
the net was suddenly thrown over his head, so as to enclose his 
person; and then, of course, followed a roar of hoisterous 
laughter. Thus the streets were beset until the farce was ended." 

In describing the objects of interest at St. Augustine, I must 
not forget to mention the United States Barracks, which occupy 
a spot where formerly stood a monastic retreat. The buildings 
are plain, but have a cheerful and comfortable appearance, and 
command a fine view of the country in the rear, as well as of 
the ocean. In the military graveyard adjoining, under appro- 
priate memorials, repose the aahes of one hundred and seven 
American soldiers, who fell a sacrifice to the Seminoles in the 
Indian war, and who were the first fruits of the famous threat 
which Osceola made on closing his intercourse with the whites, 
after he had declared his intention never to leave the grave of 
his fathers, and had been refused the privilege of purchasing 
powder: "Am I a negro?" said he, "a slave? My skin is 
dark, but not black. I am an Indian, a Seminole. The white 
man shall not make me black. I will make the white man red 
with blood, and then blacken him in the sun and rain, where the 
wolf shall smell his bones, and the buzzard live upon his flesh." 

But my pen is impatient to touch upon a more genial theme, 
and that shall be the climate of this region. That St. Augus- 
tine enjoys many advantages in this particular cannot be ques- 
tioned, and the same ufy,j be said of the peninsula of Florida 
in general. If grey-haired men, who have passed the greater 
p&rt of their lives here, are to be believed, a more equable and 
salubrious climate can hardly anywhere be found. It is, indeed, 
an evergreen land, whose breezes are ever soft, balmy, and ex- 
hilarating. While its short winters are usually so mild as to 
render fires unnecessary, its long summers are far from being 
irksome or depressing ; and while whole volumes of testimony 
could be produced to prove that nearly all, if not quite all, the 
pulmonary diseases, when taken in their incipient stages, may 

VOL. n. — ^i 



122 ST. AUGUSTINE. 

be eradicated under the influence of this climate. The average 
number of fair days in a year, and for a series of years, has been 
ascertained to be two hundred and fifty ; while in the Northern 
States the average number of fair days per annum, has been 
fixed at one hundred and twenty. Once in a great while jack 
frost makes a flying visit to Northern Florida, but by the time 
that he covers the little pools with a film of ice, and nips with 
his fingers the more youthful orange trees, he hears the sighing 
of the trade winds, and departs for the north more suddenly tha& 
he came. It is not my province to speak at length upon the 
subject of this southern climate, with regard to its advantages 
or disadvantages in a medical point of view. The theories are 
so numerous, and so antagonistic, that those who flee to Florida^ 
to escape their diseases, had better trust themselves to the Di- 
vine Physician, than to their medical advisers, or to the learned 
dissertations of the writing doctors, who are getting to be so 
very numerous throughout the land. 

For those who would sing the praises of this climate no bet- 
ter plan could be devised than to catalogue the flowers which 
are now in full bloom here in the open air — the jonquil, the 
Spanish pink, the rose, the oleander, the datura, and geranium, 
and its chief productions in the way of fruit. It is indeed so 
genial that it nourishes with luxuriance in the open air nearly 
all the fruits peculiar to tropical climes. Among those which 
flourish within the limits of Florida, (though some of them do 
better in the more southern portion,) are the orange, pineapple) 
lemon, cocoanut, banana, date, citron, olive, and fig. Now, if 
these are not enough to make even a well man's mouth water, 
and suggest the idea that even his constitution might be bene- 
fited by Florida climate, then I hardly know what would. But, 
after all, even though it is but an hour since I had the pleasure 
of plucking with my own hand, and enjoying an orange and a few 
fine figs, I cannot forget the pulpy peach and the crisp apple 
ef " my boyhood's home." The orange and pine-apple, however, 
are unquestionably the staple fruits of Florida, and consequently 
demand a more particular notice. Of the orange, there are 
three varieties — the sweet, bitter-sweet, and the sour. Previ- 



ST. AUGUSTINE. 128 

(Kifl to the year 1835, the groves of the former had, for a long 
time, been numeroos and thrifty. Much attention was paid to 
their cultivation, and the -average yield of good trees was five 
hundred oranges. The trade was brisk, and from St. Augustine 
alone were exported annually about three millions, yielding a 
revenue of $75,000. In February, 1885, however, a severe 
frost swept over this region and destroyed the entire spec\ps of 
the orange tribe, from which calamity the State is now only 
beginning to recover. The culture of the pine-apple has been 
found to be quite as successful and profitable as the orange, 
especially in the southern part of the State, where it is said to 
mature from cuttings in about eighteen months. An acre of 
land, which has to be of a peculiar quality, has been known to 
yield four thousand pines, and to be sold on the spot at five 
cents each. These few particulars indicate the superior advan* 
tages possessed by Florida for the cultivation of tropical fruits, 
and which, in future years, will undoubtedly do much towards 
enriching her more industrious inhabitants. 

The foregoing allusion to the fruits of Florida naturally brings 
to mind the stately and magnificent live-oak. They usually 
grow in what are called '' hummocks," and the approach to 
them, after a monotonous drive through the pine barrens, never 
fails to fill the traveller with delight. In their vicinity the air 
is cooler and more salubrious than elsewhere, th^ vegetation 
more luxuriant, the flowers larger and more fragrant, and the 
birds sing more sweetly. But their destruction, for the benefit 
of our navy, has kept pace with the gradual annihilation of 
the poor Indians, and the nobler specimens are few and far 
between. The men employed in cutting this oak are called 
" Live-Oakers ;" they are generally citizens of New England, 
and spend only the winter in Florida, where the life they lead, 
toiling by day in the midst of so many beautiful and pleasant 
things to gratify the senses, and sleeping at night in rude log 
shantees, is full of romance. Occasionally, however, are to be 
found individuals, who have permanently abandoned their 
northern homes, and brought their families to Florida w^re 
they are happy and at peace in their possessions. 



124 ST. AUGUSTINE. 

Bat the climate and soil of Florida are also well adapted to 
the growth of indigo. When the English had possession of the 
country, it was cultivated to a much greater extent than at 
present, and not even Garaccas could produce a better quality. 
It grows wild upon the barrens of nearly th& whole peninsula 
of Florida. The seed of this plant is small and is sown, in 
March, in drill-rows. It blooms about the first of July, when 
the flowers and tender branches, which resemble white clover, 
are cut off with a sickle, and in a vat go through the process 
of steeping in water. The purple liquid thus formed, is then 
churned^ whereby a blue fecula is formed, and this with the 
Bediment form the solid indigo. The plant will yield three 
cuttings in a season, and one person can obtain two hundred 
pounds of the marketable article from three acres of land in a 
single season. 

And now, by way of proving the authenticity of this letter, 
I must append to it an item or two in the sporting line. Within 
two or three miles of Augustine, with well-trained hounds, 
may be enjoyed the very best of deer-hunting ; and in its im- 
mediate vicinity duck, turkey, and curlew-shooting to any ex- 
tent. In the way of fish, the sheeps-head takes the lead, and 
a species of the salt-water trout follows it in popularity. The 
alligator is found here in great numbers. Though savage in 
their appearance, these monsters are afraid of man. They 
vary in length from three to twelve feet ; live in dens, built of 
mud and weeds, after the manner of the beaver-houses ; are 
very destructive to hogs ; quite prolific, hatching from one to 
two hundred little wretches at a time ; are supposed to attain 
a very great age, and, next to man, their greatest enemy, 
strange as it may seem, is the black porpoise, which frequently 
pursues them to their very dens. And speaking of porpoises, 
reminds me of the fact that only a few days ago one of these 
creatures was captured which was positively known to have 
been wounded in the upper fin by a rifle-ball over twenty years 
ago, and he was killed by an old fisherman, who has annually 
seen him feeding off the bar of St. Augustine ever since he was 
Sret wounded. 



BLACK CREEK AND TRAVELLING INCIDENTS. 



After leaving St. Augustine I retraced the land route to 
Picolata, crossed the St. John to the mouth of Black Creek, 
and in a small steamboat ascended that stream to Gerrej's 
Ferry, a distance of some twenty miles. From that point to 
Newnansville I was compelled to travel by private conveyance, 
and I managed to reach here in safety. The same feat, or 
something like it, has undoubtedly been performed by the offi- 
cers of our army in former times, but their only enemies were 
the revengeful Seminoles ; the dangers from which I have 
escaped were those of starvation and a rickety vehicle. But I 
have seen some curious places and people, and the first which 
I propose to mention is Black Creek. 

This stream is forty miles long, some three hundred feet 
wide, and from fifteen to thirty feet deep. Although fed ex« 
clusively by springs, its waters are apparently as black as black 
can be, and its principal inhabitants are the alligator and the 
cat-fish. It is exceedingly winding in its course, and runs for 
the most part through an immensely dense cypress swamp, 
where silence and solitude reign supreme. Indeed, I do not 
suppose that more than a dozen human habitations could be 
counted immediately upon its banks in traversing its entire 
length, and these are so small and so dingy that they but add 
to the prevailing desolation. The vegetation is so rank and 
matted that you may travel for miles without catching even a 
glimpse of mother earth, and when you do you wonder if she 
is not getting to be amphibious, so very low and moist are her 
developments. While in summer the general aspect of the 



126 BLACK CREEK AND TRAVELLING INCIDENTS. 

Stream is that of a winding and beautiful black canal, walled 
in with green ; its present appearance, now that the cypress 
trees are all leafless and gray, and completely covered with 
long hanging gray moss, is that of a stream hemmed in with a 
frieze-work of dark granite, at the foot of which is a line of 
green shrubbery, mixed up with reeds, while everywhere are 
floating upon the placid stream huge water-lilies without num- 
ber, all golden in their attire. On peering more closely into 
this conglomerate mass of vegetation, however, the eyes of the 
traveller will ever find much to enjoy; for in just such a swamp 
does the magnolia attain its greatest perfection, and vines grow 
more luxuriantly and fantastically than in any other locality. 
And then, again, the hoary forest, as if jealous of its inner re- 
cesses, seems to have stationed its soldiery at every convenient 
spot, and as these huge giants extend their branches far over 
the stream, now holding high in air vines enough to rig a 
frigate, and then waving to the breeze their banners of moss, 
they proclaim their power and antiquity in a most impressive 
manner. Water-fowl of every variety and in immense numbers 
were gliding over the water and winnowing the air in every 
direction as we ascended the stream, and the one solitary 
camp-fire of. a trio of negro raftman, which we saw at a late 
hour in the afternoon, tended but to increase the loneliness of 
the scenery. 

Gerrey's Ferry, to which I have alluded, was the stopping 
place of our steamer, and a curious one in several particulars. 
The few buildings which compose it stand upon a desolate sand 
hill, with a pine barren on one side and on the other a cypress 
swamp. Among them is a store, owned by a person who is 
making a fortune by selling goods and shipping cotton; a 
grocery, where were assembled about twenty planters and 
teamsters, several of them intoxicated; a miserable tavern, 
where I occupied the same room and bed in which several 
individuals had recently died of consumption ; one comfortable 
dwelling occupied by a very gentlemanly person, and a Metho- 
dist meeting house. The tavern accommodations were very 
poor, and the doleful aspect of the place was a good deal 



1 

bIciAoe creek and trayblling incidents. 127 

heightened hj the circumstance that our ears were all night 
long saluted, with the croaking of innumerable frogs in the 
neighboring ^wamp. Although large quantities of cotton are 
exported from this spot, as well as thousands of deer skins and 
horned cattle hides, whose original owners were wont to range 
in one common herd through the surrounding piney woods, yet, 
from all the information that I could gather, it is more famous 
for its alligators than any thing else. So abundant are these 
revolting creatures in this vicinity, that during the summer 
evenings their bellowing, which resembles distant thunder, is 
quite annoying even to the inhabitants, and it is a common 
occurrence for the more ambitious of these amphibious monsters 
to ascend and sun themselves in the road upon which the cabins 
of the embryo city are planted. On questioning an old hunter 
about this animal, he informed me that they were now quite as 
nmneroua as in former times, but smaller in size and more shy 
of their enemy, man. He had seen individuals sixteen feet in 
length, but a specimen nine feet long was now considered huge; 
and he fuiliher informed me that, on account of their peculiar 
organization, they had a habit of swallowing whole quarts of 
gravel and small stones by way of helping digestion. 

In the way of incidents, I am indebted to Gerrey's Ferry for 
only two worth recording. I visited the encampment here of 
an emigrant family, consisting of an intelligent man and woman 
and fifteen children. They had built their watch-fire directly 
npon the bank of the stream, and as the woman was caoking 
their humble meal, children were playing with the dogs, the 
father cleaning his rifle, and the blue smoke ascended into the 
quiet air, to be lost among the neighboring cypress trees, the 
effect of the scene was picturesque in the extreme. The man 
informed me that he was a carpenter by trade, was born on the 
Atlantic coast, in one of the Carolinas ; that he had lived some 
twenty-seven years in the interior of Western Florida, sighing 
annually for the breezes of the salt sea, and that he was now 
journeying to some pleasant place upon the Atlantic where he 
might spend the remainder of his days. He was a poor man, 
and yet the music of old ocean, which had lulled him to sleep 



1 

128 BLACK CREEK AND TRAYELLINa INCIDENTS. 

I 

in boyhood, had caused him to abandon a good bbsiness, and 
was luring him in his old age back to the shore of that same 
ocean. The other incident alluded to was not oi|e that I wit- 
nessed, but I can Touch for its authenticity. A few weeks before 
my arriyaly there had been a great drought thiH>ughout the 
country, and a venerable Methodist preacher happening to come 
along, who lived some sixty miles off, and who always looked 
out for the main chance, and bore no love to Baptists, was re- 
quested to pray for rain. He complied with the request, and 
when it is remembered that he was invited to plead for Black 
Creek especially, and that the towns alluded to were without 
any Baptists, but full of Methodists, the unselfish tone of his 
prayer was remarkable, and it ran in this wise : 

'^ Let it rain, beginning at my plantation in Hamilton county, 
coming down the religious neighborhoods of Columbia and 
Nassau, where immersion is not practised, and reaching Black 
Creek — even Black Creek — and bringing forth in abundance — 
none of your little nubbins^ however, but long ears — long as 
this good right arm.'' 

From Gerrey's Ferry we drove to this place, a distance of 
forty-eight miles, the cost of which journey was twenty-four 
dollars, or just about half the value of the horse and buggy. 
We only experienced one break-down, but then the road was 
very good. Between the two places we noticed less than a 
dozen plantations, the owners of which occupied the most com- 
mon cabins. The face of the country was perfectly level, and 
covered with a continuous pine forest, relieved at distant inter- 
vals by small cypress swamps or stagnant lakes, with here and 
there a very pretty stream. Corn and sweet potatoes appeared 
to be the main products upon which the inhabitants depended 
for a living, though a half-cultivated cotton-field was attached 
to each habitation, and I was informed that just enough sugar- 
cane was planted to supply the home demand. One of the 
natives informed me that he owned more than a thousand head 
of cattle, but when solicited for a cup of milk he was quite 
astonished, and told me that his family never used it ; for, as 
the cows were always ranging through the woods, he had found 



BLACK CBBBK AND TRAVBLLINa INCIDBNTS. 129 

it too troublesome to bunt tbem up and milk tbem. And wben 
I found tbat yenison and wild turkeys took tbe place of beef 
apon the tables of the inhabitants, it became apparent that 
horned-cattle were valued solely for their hides, and I was not 
surprised to perceive, therefore, that the poor, neglected, and 
naturally puny creatures wer.e often compelled to resort to the 
Spanish moss for their daily sustenance. 

The market value of a cow was reported to be about six dol- 
lars, while a county tax of three dollars per head was demanded 
from every proprietor. The opinion that I formed of the 
people generally who lived secluded in these piney woods, was 
that they were uniformly kind and obliging, moral as could be 
expected, but certainly not over-burthened with intelligence. 
Many of them had never seen a canal, a railroad, or a steam- 
boat ; and all they knew of the North was that the Northerners 
wanted to free all the slaves. During the day we passed a 
solilary "grocery," situated in the forest, where were assembled 
some fifty men and boys, from various unknown parts, who 
were in the full enjoyment of a horse-racing frolic. 

But the most interesting event of our journey to this place, 
was the spending of a pleasant hour in the rude but comfortable 
cabin of one of the mothers of this Southern Israel. She was 
a widow, and her name Ann Munroe ; seventy years of age, 
and a noble old soul. She was born in South Carolina, brought 
up in Georgia, and had lived in Florida ever since it was orga- 
nized into a territory. We found her living in great seclusion, 
her only companions for months at a time being a servant 
woman and two children. We halted under her roof for the 
purpose of eating the cold dinner that we had brought with us, 
but to this she insisted upon adding a cup of excellent coffee, 
some delicious syrup, and oranges of her own raising. She 
told us that the last of her kindred, excepting one son, who was 
her only neighbor, had been long dead ; and, in speaking of 
Florida, she called it " J'Zwnda," the ^^Bhssom of the United 
States,*' and the " Garden of the JSarth.'' She took it for 
granted that we were seeking a place in which to settle ; we 
might travel hundreds of miles further, but we could find no 



130 BLACK CRBEK AND TRAVBLLING INCIDENTS. 

region so desirable as Florida ; people never came here once 
without coming back again. She was astonishingly active both 
in body and mind, and when seated at the corner of a fire-place 
that was near ten feet in breadth, with a cat lying at her feet^ 
she presented .a charming picture of domestic comfort and 
repose. She gave us her views upon religion ; avowed herself 
a Baptist in belief, but had never joined any church ; all 
churches were ambitious^ and always getting into trouble ; she 
loved her Bible and read it constantly, indeed it was her only 
reading. In speaking of her schooling, she said she had been 
to school for sixty years ; not a school of bo6ks, but of tho 
natural world. She knew that we had been to schools, to aca- 
demies, and colleges, but in regard to her kind of school we 
were yet in our A B C*s, and said that when we were as old as 
she, we would remember her words and pronounce them true. 
She told us to remember one thing wherever we went, and that 
was, " to do unto others as we would have others do unto us ;" 
that was what she tried to do. We were welcome to her fire- 
side, and her fare was poor, yet there was a good deal of happi- 
ness in her rude home. On our expressing a preference to Bve 
among our friends at the North, in Maryland, rather than in 
Florida, with all its attractions, she said we were mere babies^ 
and not yet weaned ; she had to leave her friends, and thought 
it hard, but she soon felt contented, and found that she had 
friends everywhere; and her parting words were that she was . 
our friend, and that we might throw ourselves upon the world, 
and if honest and industrious we should always have many good 
friends, and God would be our friend. We left the good old 
woman with reluctance, feeling that she 

** Ilad been kind to 8uch 



As needed kindness, for this single cause, 
That ve have all of us one human heart." 

On reaching Newnansville we found the entire population, 
masters and slaves, in the full enjoyment of Christmas tide, or 
Christmas week, as it is here called. Indeed, every thing, as 
well as every body, seemed to.be at loose ends, and it was with 



BLACK GRBEK AND TRAVELLINa IKOIDBNTg. 131 

the utmost difficulty that ire coald secure any hotel accommo- 
dations. The houses were numerous enough, since they num- 
bered about twenty, but then they were built of logs, very old, 
and few of them could bear the native test of a comfortable 
dwelling, which is to- have the logs so near together as to pre- 
vent the slinging of a cat between t\kem without injuring the 
animal. 

Another peculiarity of these Florida houses is that they are 
always built upon blocks or sunken posts, and though the ob- 
jects are to escape dampness and secure the greatest circula- 
tion of air during the warm weather, these open spaces beneath 
the floor are mvariably occupied by all the dogs and poultry 
belonging to the establishment. The idea of thus building was 
obtained from the aborigines, who built their wigwams on this 
plan using pine sticks for flooring, grey moss for bedding, and 
palmetto leaves for a canopy. 

We were deemed fortunate in obtaining lodgings, and I am 
now writing in the best apartment in the house. It is just 
large enough to hold a plank bedstead and admit one person at 
a time. It has two windows, but neither of them with a pane 
of glass ; the roof is allied to those which make people wonder 
when they enter a modern New York church, and the space 
between the floor and the ground is inhabited by a sow and 
thirteen beautiful pigs. Hog, hominy, and sweet potatoe are 
cur staples in the way of food, and, if not over delicate, are 
substantial, sweet, and good ; they must at least be very fatten- 
ing ; but the negro servants who serve them up are very dirty. 

But, with all its discomforts, I shall ever remember Newnans- 
ville with great distinctness and not without pleasure for having 
presented me with a comprehensive picture of southern life. 
Indoors and outdoors I have been perpetually reminded of an 
engraving which I have seen of Vaniti/ Fair, by Cruikshanks. 
High and low, rich and poor, good and bad, the sober and in- 
temperate, white and black, the wise and the foolish have come 
together, from village and from country cabins, to enjoy the 
most ancient festival of Christmas with the most boisterous 
hilarity. I have witnessed groups and scenes that were perhaps 



132 BLACK CREEK AND TRAYELLING IKCIBElTrS. 

more peculiar than beautiful, and more exciting than interest- 
ing. The exercises of Christmas holiday usually commence 
mth a casual meeting of the blacks by twos and threes at the 
comers of the streets, and, by the time all things are ready 
for a foot race, out step upon the sward as if by magic a bevy 
of sable damsels, dressed in white, with fancy turbans and huge 
pantalets and scarlet sashes around their waists ; and then 
follow the scrub races, upon which the planters bet their dollars 
and the darkies their shillings ; then the drinking and the mer- 
riment proceed after the most approved manner of the South. 
In the mean time a very nice young man, whom everybody praises, 
but who will have his '^ spree," has jumped into his buggy, and 
is racing his horse through the streets for his own private grati- 
fication, whereby he proves to the satisfaction of all who see 
him that his spirits are as abundant as they are good. Now the 
banjo and the fiddle are taken up, and two negroes are placed 
each upon a dry-goods box for the purpose of ascertaining which of 
the twain can dance the longest time without stopping to breathe ; 
and then the negro children try their skill, and the patting of 
Juba seems to become universal. Anon we have a systematic 
street fight between a couple of rowdies ; and then the motley 
crowd gather around an old hunter, who has just entered the 
village, riding upon a gaunt horse, and bringing to market the 
hams of his one hundred and fortieth deer of the season. At 
the approach of night the pastimes and noises of the day gra- 
dually subside, and give place on the part of the negroes to the 
break-down dance and religious services ; and while the more 
jovial make the night hideous by their animal hilarity, those 
who are serious accomplish the same end by their meanings 
and waitings and wild singing. Indeed the perfect freedom 
which the negroes here enjoy during Christmas week struck me 
with surprise, and I am inclined to believe that if we have any 
tears to shed they should be shed for the master rather than for 
the slave. 



THE SUWANEE RIVER AND WAKULLA FOUNTAIN. 



The general characteristics of the country lying between 
Newnansville and Tallahassee, are similar to the portions of the 
State already described. It was only while approaching the 
capital that the monotony of pine woods and uncomfortable log 
cabins, was relieved by an occasional belt of hard wood forest 
and a respectable farm house. We travelled hither in dilapi-^ 
dated stage wagons, and experienced all the botherations of a 
new country. The only places that tempted us to tarry in 
them longer than a single night, were the village of Alligator 
and the banks of the Suwannee river ; and these, with an ac- 
count of Wakulla Fountain, shall be the subject of this epistle. 

The place called Alligator consists of a collection of log 
cabins, occupying a cheerless sandy clearing in the midst of the 
pine woods. Its leading families are intelligent and respect- 
able, but it harbors a set of tavern and grocery-keeperd who are 
a disgrace to Florida. What supports the hamlet I can hardly 
imagine, unless it be the fact that it is a sort of resting place 
for the teamsters and travellers, who have occasion to pass from 
Jacksonville to Middle Florida. It derives its poetical name 
from a famous Indian, who was the head chief of the ancient 
Sominoles. It obtained its first mite of reputation from the 
circumstance, that when a party of Government surveyors once 
entered its limits for the purpose of defining its boundaries, for 
the benefit of a person who had purchased it as wild land, under 
a Spanish grant, the hundred inhabitants who occupied it made 
war upon the public officers, and drove them away. Its only 
attractions in the way of scenery are a couple of small lakes in 



134 THE SUWANEB RIVER AND WAKULLA FOUNTAIN. 

its immediate vicinity, where ^ alligators and cranes abound. 
And those of its inhabitants who have a taste for historic lore 
claim for it the honor of having been trodden by De Soto and 
his mad followers. It was this intelligence, indeed, that tempted 
me to tarry an extra day in the village, and as I was the guest 
of a very intelligent and pleasant gentleman, who felt a special 
interest in its history, my opportunities were all that could be 
wished. 

As no two authorities had ever yet told the same story, in 
regard to the explorations of De Soto in this region, it is not 
to be wondered at that every village and plantation in Florida, 
Alabama, and Mississippi, should claim to have been one of his 
stopping places. That he landed at Tampa Bay, and struck 
the Mississippi river near Helena, is undoubtedly true ; and 
that he was three years in performing the strange wild pilgrim- 
age is equally certain. His force, according to Vega, was one 
thousand men; while Prescott alleges that Cortez entered 
Mexico with only five hundred, and Pizzaro entered Peru with 
one hundred and eighty-five men. When De Soto entered 
Florida he told the Indians he was descended from the Sun, 
that he came from the land of the Sun, and had come to visit 
the wealthiest lord of the new country. He moreover led his 
cavalcade mounted upon a horse of giant proportions, and as 
the poor barbarians had never seen such an animnl, no wonder 
they were stricken with fear, and hastened to obey the orders 
of the Spanish chief. When a stranger, they treated him with 
kindness, but when they found out his real character they met 
him as an enemy. His scheme of conquest was conceived an 
iniquity, and met its legitimate fate ; he was proud and cruel, 
died in the dreary wilderness, and to this day his burial place 
is unknown. The evidences that De Soto ever called a halt on 
the site of Alligator are by no means convincing. A local tra- 
dition is related, however, to the effect that a great battle was 
fought on this spot between a multitude of Indians and an army 
of white men ; and this is corroborated by the existence in the 
vicinity of the remains of a systematic earthen fortification and 
a number of mounds. One of these was opened for my especial 



THB 8UWANBB RIVER AND WAKULLA FOUNTAIN. 185 

benefit, but all the wonders it ^revealed wore a few decayed 
bones and some bits oC charcoal. It is said also that mounds 
and fortifications, like those at Alligator, are to be found all 
along the best authenticated route travelled by the famous Spani- 
ard. In some of the mounds lying between Tampa Bay and 
Alligator, there have been found human bones nearly twice as 
large as the present race of men. In one of them seven bodies ' 
were found, seated in a circle, and facing the centre of the 
mound; in another a skull, with a hole just above the eye, and 
on the inside a flattened bullet ; and in another, with such Indian 
relics as pipes, hatchets, arrow-heads and earthen pots, was found 
a steel and silver spur, marked with a Spanish coat of arms. 

But the personal history of my Alligator host interested me 
far more than the Be Soto traditions. He was born in Ten- 
nessee, the son of a worthy man, who was one of the best 
deholars of his day, and traced* his ancestry to the landing at 
Jamestown. He first visited Florida about twenty years ago 
as a volunteer against the Seminoles ; and, after quitting the 
army, he studied theology, graduated at a Western college, and 
was a preacher in the Methodist Church for ten years. The 
result of this campaign was that he impoverished himself, and, 
looking at his wife and children, he determined to do something 
else for their support. His last service as a preacher was to 
travel through the Southern States and obtain money enough 
to establish a religious institution. He then read law, was ad- 
mitted to the bar of Tennessee, and, remembering the pleasant 
days he had passed in Florida, emigrated to this State. He 
pitched his tent in Alligator, and on the day that he opened his 
office his debts amounted to five thousand dollars. He was 
successful from the start, and as time progressed he became a 
free man, paid for the education of two brothers, both of whom 
are wealthyy and one a member of Congress, and through his 
influence was established a regular line of steamers between 
Charleston and Jacksonville, which has been of immense advan- 
tage to his adopted State ; and at the present moment he is 
not only the wealthiest man in Alligator, but one of the most 
talented and influential lawyers in Florida. 



136 THE SUWANBB RIVER AND WAKULLA FOUNTAIN. 

After leaving Alligator, our route still continued through 
pine woods and over a level sandy road. . As before, log cabins 
were few and far between, and the only objects that helped to 
relieve the monotony of the journey, by way of suggesting 
thought, were the Gophar and Salamander hillocks, which are 
from one to three feet high and cover the whole country, and 
the lime-sinks, which are also very numerous. The gophar is a 
species of hard-shelled turtle, considered, by those accustomed 
to them, good eating ; they are said to live wholly 6n the land, 
feeding on grass in the night-time and chewing the cud like 
the cow. The salamander is a variety of the burrowing or 
pouched rat, which derives its name from the circumstance 
that it is in the habit of running over the ground while still 
warm after a recent burning of the woods. The lime-sinks al- 
luded to, are among the more striking natural wonders of Flo- 
rida. They occur in the dense woods, in groups, and isolated 
localities, and consist of perfectly circular basins, gathering to 
a point as they sink below the surface, and some of them are 
so deep as to bring the tops of large trees on a level with the 
eye of the spectator. They usually contain a small quantity 
of lime-stone water, and are affected by the freshets in the 
neighboring rivers. Living in their vicinity is considered un- 
healthy, and they are accounted for upon the supposition that 
they are a mere sinking of the earth, caused by the porous 
quality of the earthy formations in this region. It is, indeed, 
believed by some that immense subterranean passages underlie 
the whole of Florida. The sinks in question would seem to 
prove this theory, and a more striking proof is derived fr.om 
the fact that there are many localities in the State where the 
jumping of a single man will cause the earth to sway or undu- 
late like the surface of a thinly frozen lake. The person who 
acted as our coachman from Alligator to the Suwannee river 
was quite intelligent, and some of his conversation proved him 
to be well acquainted with men and things in Florida. He 
congratulated us upon our escape from Eastern Florida, the 
land of ^' hog and hominy,'' and upon our speedy entrance into 
Middle Florida, which he denominated the land of ^^sowins 



THE SUWANBE RIVBR AND WAKULLA FOUNTAIN. 187 

and chickens." The term 9omn% we found to be an abbrevia- 
tion of $ouringSj which is a dish of pounded corn made sour by 
baking in the sun, and usually served up with a gophar-Bteaky 
than which nothing but India-rubber can be more tough and 
elastic. By way of illustrating the sometime effect of this food 
upon strangers, he mentioned the following circumstance : A 
solitary horseman, as Mr. James would say, was on his way 
through the pine country of this region. Having spent a night 
in a cabin, where he could procure nothing for his horse but 
com husks, and been himself regaled at breakfast by some 
soarings and gophar-steak, the former dish turned his stomach 
and made him sick, while the latter resisted all his masticating 
efforts to the very last, and so he continued his journey. He 
travelled some thirty miles further, and at night-fall pulled up 
before another cabin. *He asked if he could get a night's 
lodging and something to eat ; to which the good woman re- 
plied, " Yes, if you can put up with ^ sich as it is.' " Sowins 
and gophar were again placed before him ; but he slept soundly 
and was off before day-light the next morning. As night came on 
again, he made another appeal for food, and '^sich as it is" rang 
again in his ear ; upon which he frantically mounted his half- 
famished steed, exclaiming, ^' It won't do ; I tried ^ sich as it 
is' at the last house and couldn't eat it no how." And thus, 
by the dim light of a new moon, and looking the picture of 
famine, he changed his course of travel to the nearest boundary 
line of the State, and was never more seen in these parts. As 
to the " chickens*' of Florida, I know not that they differ ma- 
terially from the chickens of other lands ; but the rapidity with 
which they are here placed upon the table is truly astonishing ; 
for the same individual which may have awakened you at dawn 
with his crowing will not unlikely be placed before you. at 
break of day, jBioating in the fat of his old companion the pig. 
As in New England a broiled chicken is looked upon as a thing 
to be talked of, both before and after its enjoyment, so in some 
parts of Florida is a fried chicken considered appropriate food for 
only the more neatly dressed of travellers, and they are there- 
fore generally reserved for the preachers. And it is said that 
VOL. n. — E 



138 THE SUWANEK KIVER AND WAKTJLLA FOUNT AIK. 

when a genteel-looking person approaches the house the 
"chickens break for the woods," having so often seen the 
necks of their fellows wrung off after such an arrival. Would 
not, therefore, a Florida chicken, on account of its intelligence, 
if properly introduced, be considered as great a curiosity as the 
uncouth Shanghai or Chittagong, which now bear the palm in 
our Northern heneries ? 

The Suwanee river, which separates Eastern from Middle 
Florida, is a rapid stream, very dark, but clear, emptying into 
the Gulf of Mexico, running a directly opposite course from 
the St. John, thereby presenting another of the many singu- 
larities of this country. It runs over a bed occasionally of the 
purest white sand, and again over limestone ledges, where 
interesting fossils are found in the greatest abundance and 
perfection, and its bold and fantastidblly formed banks, with 
their wealth of vegetation, afford for the artist choice studies 
without number. Though watering a comparative wilderness, 
it boasts of two large white sulphur springs, which are twelve 
miles apart, and pour their medicated treasures immediately 
into the river. The accommodation for invalids at both of them 
are quite good, and they are annually visited by a large number 
of the Southern gentry. They gush from rocky fissures in a 
most copious stream, maintain an even temperature of sixty- 
seven degrees, and the sulphur pictures of every possible hue, 
with which their bottoms and sides are encrusted, struck me as 
among the most perfectly beautiful objects I had ever beheld. 
At one of these springs I had my first view of a sugar mUl in 
operation. It was a small affair, consisting of two sheds or 
roofs, under one of which were the huge wooden screws between 
which the sugar-cane was pressed or ground, while under the 
other were ranged, over a brick furnace, three huge iron kettles 
used for boiling the juice. Negro children fed the fires and 
negro women watched the boiling ; by whom also the very deli- 
cate task was performed of pouring, at precisely the proper 
mo^pent for crystallization, into large wooden troughs, the hot 
and fragrant syrup. As I witnessed the operation of boiling 
or sugaring off on a very dark night, when torches were 



THE SUWANEB RIVER AND WAKULLA FOUNTAIN. 189 

abundantlj employed, the effect of the scene was exceedingly 
pictigresque, and reminded me of an Indian sugar camp in the 
wilds of Michigan. Qn my arrival at the spot the head woman 
knocked one of the ebon boys heels over head for poking a long 
stick into one of the kettles for his own pleasuse, and then 
presented me with a nice little pine stick with which to perform 
the very operation which had been vetoed in the urchin ; and 
when about to take my departure another woman paid me the 
usual compliment of handing me half a dozen stocks of the 
sugar cane to luxuriate upon while traveling. In a conversa- 
tion that I had with my landlord at this place I learned the 
fact that, by burying it in the earth, sugar cane may be kept 
in a fresh state for a whole season; and furthermore, that it 
requires the very best of land to bring it to perfection, and 
that in planting it all that is to be done is simply to lay stocks 
in the furrow and cover them slightly, as you would corn. I 
picked up at the same time the following particulars respecting 
the natural history of this region : 

I was told, for example, that the beaver, which I had supposed 
was mainly to be found in cold and temperate climates, was not 
only a native of Florida, but were found here in considerable 
numbers, and that many of their dams and wonderful houses 
were to be seen in the valley of the Suwanee river. I have 
already mentioned the fact that the common red deer are very 
abundant in this State, and in Middle Florida they are particu- 
larly so. The more expert hunters kill from two to three 
hundred in a single season, and while the sportsmen usually 
employ the hoynd, those who kill for gain resort to fire-hunting. 
This latter custom is cruel in the extreme ; for, owing to the 
blinding effect of the torches and the unsuspicious character of 
the animal, it is sometimes the case that a herd of half a dozen 
are killed from one position. Wolves, which were once very 
numerous in this State, are now seldom met with ; but bears, 
wild-cats, and panthers are still to be found in considerable 
numbers. Of the smaller wild animals the opossum, raccoon, 
hare, squirrel and fox are very abundant; and wild ducks, 
brandt, snipe and curlew frequent all the ponds and marshes, 



140 THE SUWAKEE BIVBR AND WAKULLA FOUNTAIN. 

and the common quail is fpund in every field. Turkeys are so 
plentiful as to be considered an important item in provisioning 
a family ; tbey are commonly taken in traps, and when pursued 
with the gun, the old hunters think they are doing a small 
business if tjiey kill less than half a dozen at a single shot. 

But in the way of mere wanton sport there is nothing in this 
region to compare with alligator shooting by torchlight. The 
eyes of these monsters are large and brilliant, and when you 
go to the banks of a lonely lake or river at night and make a 
noise, it is a custom with them to rise to the surface by the 
dozen, and it is when stealing stealthily along to see what kind 
of meat they can get hold of, that they are shot with the rifle. 
When wounded they commonly climb on the shore, there to 
remain until they die. When instantly killed their bodies sink 
to the bottom, but rise again in a few hours. By some people 
the alligator's liver, if they have such a thing, is considered 
good eating ; but the only use that I could ever find for th^m 
was to extract their teeth, which make very pretty whistles. 
The climate of the extreme Southern States seems perfectly 
adapted to the growth of alligators, and when undisturbed in their 
native haunts, their happiness seems to be complete. Delight- 
ing as they do in the smell of rankest vegetation and foul 
miasma, and in the companionship as well as flesh of fish, 
snakes, lizards and toads, they find here an abundance of these 
luxuries. Though not distinguished for their beauty, they are 
so for their afiection and intelligence. In protecting their 
young they will brave every danger, and their manner of turn- 
ing their jaws into traps for the capture of mosquitos and birds 
is most interesting to contemplate. A portion ot their tails is 
considered by the negroes a luxury of no common order. Their 
teeth, which are eighty in number^ have a cone-like shape and 
are shed every year. Their tongues are so small as to be almost 
imperceptible to the casual observer, and though their jaws are 
terrible to contemplate, they are by no means as destructive to 
animal life as their long scaly tails. As on the seaboard of 
Florida their most formidable enemy is the porpoise, so in the 
interior swamps is the black bear, between which the combats 



THE BUWAKBB RIVER AND WAKULLA FOUNTAIN. 141 

are sometimes terrific. As their history as a family, is classi- 
cal and romantic, so are their habits strange and incomprehen- 
sible. They hunt and devour food with the greatest voracity, 
and yet have been known to fast for many months at a time. 
Their eggs, which number from one to two hundred are little 
larger than those of a hen, and are deposited in the sand, and 
the young when pursued flee (ox safety, down the throat of the 
female parent. They relish equally the sunshine or the sand- 
bank and the gloom of their damp subterranean abodes under 
the grassy banks of the streams. They seldom attack man and 
as seldom are disturbed by his presence. They are horrible 
creatures to look upon, and yet there is a fascination about 
their wary movements. Though naturally quiet creatures, their 
love song resembles the bellowing of bulls ; and while their eyes 
are thought to resemble those of the Chinese, like the Chinese 
too, if Charles Lamb is to be believed, they have a peculiar par- 
tiality for little pigs. 

The great drawback, however, to all kinds of sporting or 
rambling in this otherwise goodly land are the rattlesnakes 
which abound here. They are perfect mammoths in their way, 
some of them measuring nine feet in length, four or five inches 
in diameter, and carrying fangs nearly an inch long ; and it 
was only a few weeks ago, as my landlord informed me, that a 
negro child, while pursuing a chicken under a barn, scrambled 
over one of these horrible reptiles, but was not bitten, by the 
onheard of compassion of the snake ; which, however, produced 
such an effect upon the child as to make him sick. 

At the second spring to which I have alluded I stumbled upon 
and was much pleased to examine two portraits painted by 
Allston when quite a young man. They were good in color, 
but defective in drawing, and had the stiffness which it seems to 
me characteriEes the majority of this distinguished man's pro- 
ductions. 

And now, before leaving the banks of the charming stream, 
associated in so many minds with a famous negro melody, I 
will allude to the freshets, of which it is sometimes the victim. 
The water has been known to rise some thirt ^or forty feet 



142 THE SUWANEB RIVER AND WAKULLA FOUNTAIN. 

above low-water mark, which, for a river that comes out of a 
•swamp and runs through a level country, is remarkable. At 
such times the forest and plantations are of course all inundated 
and much damage done. After one of these freshets, the sur- 
rounding country remains boggy for a long time, so that cattle 
and even men frequently break through the sod ; and it is said 
that at such times the springs which empty into the Suwanee 
river eject from the bowels of the earth tufts of grass and 
bunches of dry leaves, thereby proving a connection between 
them and some neighboring marsh or lake. It is sometimes 
the case, however, that the traveller in this region is compelled 
to exclaim, with the ancient mariner, 

" Water, water, eyerywhere, 
But not a drop to drink ]" 

for good drinking water is scarce, and little dependence can be 
placed on wells, for they dry up and fill up in proportion to the 
quantity of rain ; and one instance has occurred where the bot- 
tom of a well, forty-seven feet deep, to the astonishment of the 
digger, actually fell through a distance of eight or ten feet. 

The country, as we travelled westwardly from the Suwanee 
river, gradually improved in fertility, the pine woods giving 
place to sturdy hard-wood forests, and the sight of an occasional 
church steeple, with a few white houses, had a very refreshing 
influence upon our spirits. Our stage-driver on this portion of 
the route was a worthy but poor man, and his friends gloried 
for him over the circumstance that he was the nephew of an 
ex-President ; but the man himself had never received any po- 
litical favors, and evidently felt himself happy in his humble 
position. The most curious thing I saw on the road was a 
pretty bonnet, made out of the fibrous portion of a native squash ; 
and the best thing that we had to eat was another kind of 
squash, which was roasted in its shell, after a fashion of the 
ancient Seminoles. 

With this Tallahassee, the capital of Florida, I am well 
pleased. It is a pretty town in location, capping as it does a 
high hill, contains some cheerful houses, with intelligent and 




THE SUWAKEE RIVBR AND WAKULLA FOVlTrAIN. 143 

hospitable inmates ; and fashionable ideas in dress and equi- 
pages are quite prevalent. It is the centre of a productive cot- 
ton-growing region, and is connected with its seaport of St. 
Marks, by a mule railroad. As a place of residence, it is already 
desirable, and all it needs to make it a more prosperous town, 
is a sprinkling of Yankee enterprise, and the establishment of 
modem travelling facilities. The State-house is a handsome 
edifice, and by the gentlemanly officials connected with it, I 
was politely treated. The drives about the country are plea- 
sant ; but one, about fifteen miles in length, to Wakulla Foun- 
tain, eclipses all the rest ; and with an account of this moat 
perfectly beautiful and enchanting natural curiosity, I will con- 
clude my present letter. 

The springs of Florida are indeed among its most peculiar 
and attractive features. The Orange and the Silver Springs, 
in the eastern part of the State, one of them surrounded with 
an orange forest, and the other possessing the magic property 
of giving a white coating to the turtles and alligators that live 
in it, would repay the lover of nature for a long pilgrimage ; 
but Wakulla Fountain surpasses them in every particular, and 
will hereafter live in my memory with the Saguenay River, 
Niagara Falls, the Mammoth Cave, and Tallulah Chasm. An 
adequate idea of this mammoth spring could never be given by 
pen or pencil ; but when once seen, on a bright calm day, it 
must ever after be a thing to dream about and love. It is the 
fountain-head of a river which is twenty miles long, empties 
into the Gulf of Mexico, and is of sufficient volume to float a 
steamboat, if such an affair had yet dared to penetrate this 
solemn wilderness. When first I looked upon it, I was forcibly 
reminded of the old ballad description, which says, 

'< On the lakelet blue the water coot 

Oared forth with her sable young, 
While from its edge, 'mid the bordering, sedge, 

The fisher hern upsprung." 

It wells up in the very heart of a dense cypress swamp, is nearly 
round in shape, measures some four hundred feet in dia(meter, and 



144 THE SUWANBE RIVER AND WAKULLA POUNTADT. 



« 



is in depth about one hundred and fifty feet, having at its bottom 
an immense horizontal chasm, with a dark portal, frt)m one side 
of which looms up a limestone cliff, the summit of which is itself 
nearly fifty feet beneath the spectator, who gazes upon it from 
the sides of a tiny boat. The water thereof is so astonishingly 
clear that even a pin can be seen on the bottom in the deepest 
places, and of course every animate and inanimate object which 
it contains is fully exposed to view. The apparent color of the 
water from the shore is greenish, but as you look perpendicu- 
larly into it, it is colorless as air, and the sensation of floating 
upon it is that of being suspended in a balloon ; and the water 
is so refractive, that when the sun shines brilliantly every object 
you see is enveloped in the most fascinating prismatic hues. It 
contains a great variety of serpent-like plants, and its mossy- 
looking bottom resembles the finest carpet, with white ground 
and fantastic figures of every possible color. It abounds in fish, 
both large and small, among which I recognised the black bass, 
the sea-mullet, and red fish, the bream, the sucker, the chub, 
and the shiner ; and it seems to me that I can now recall every 
individual to mind as a personal acquaintance. They at times 
made the surface of the water alive with their gambols ; they 
swam about their beautiful home in schools and singly, some of 
them watching our boat with curious looks, and others perfectly 
indifferent to our presence or movements. On dropping a six- 
pence into the water, a couple of them followed it in its zig-zag 
course to the bottom, pushed it with their snouts, and then 
scornfully turned tail upon it ; and it was a most novel and in- 
teresting sight to see an occasional fellow floating gently up the 
sides of the cliff, from the deep chasm below, as if himself as- 
tonished that such fine scenery should exist so far under the 
surface of his native element. It was also very strange to wit- 
ness the shadow which our little boat cast upon the bottom, 
which seemed to be refreshing to some of the fish that floated 
into it, but was not liked apparently by the alligators and huge 
turtles that went crawling along the sub-marine highway. A 
rim of rankest grasses and lilies surrounds the entire fountain, 
and at the* foot of the numerous and gigantic cypress trees, all 



THE 8UWANEB RIVBB AND WAKULLA FOUNTAIN. 145 

hoary with moss and heavily laden with vines which hang over 
the water, were the nests of innumerable water birds, such as 
^he crane, the duck, and the bittern, whose screaming voices 
conspired to give a most wild and desolate aspect to the scene. 
Were it not a desecration to do so in such a fairy-like place, 
fishing with a fly in Wakulla Fountain for black bass and bream, 
would be superb ; and were it not for the developments of sci* 
ence, we might imagine that the mammoth bones which were 
found in the spring in 1850, were the remains of some primeval 
angler who had been killed for daring to disturb its beautiful 
inhabitants. It has been discovered, however, that the relics 
in question were the fossil bones of the great mastodon, and those 
who have a tase for such matters, can be gratified with a sight 
of the remains of the Wakulla monster, by visiting the museum 
of Philadelphia, where they were deposited by George S. King, 
Esq., of Florida. 

That the ancient Seminoles should have attached a legend to 
this brightest spot in their domain, was quite natural. Old men 
told i* to their children at the twilight hour, under their broad 
palmetto trees. At night, said they in suostance, may be seen 
around the shores and on the bottom of the fountain, tiny fairy 
ereatures, sporting and bathing in noiseless glee ; but at mid- 
night, when the moon is at its full, there appears upon the 
water a gigantic warrior, sitting in a stone canoe with a copper 
paddle in his hand, from whose presence the fairies afi'righted 
flee away, leaving, as the last object seen in the darkness of a 
cloud, the spectre warrior alone in his canoe, which seems an- 
chored and immovable. 



THE CHATTAHOOCHEE RIVER. 



On leaving Tallahassee I took the coacli to the Chattahoochee 
river, passed up that stream in a steamer, rail-roaded it through 
western Georgia, and came down the Tennessee river in a steam- 
boat. That portion of Florida whence I made m j exit appeared 
to be, and in reality is the most highly cultivated in the State. 
Broad and handsome plantations are numerous, and here reigns 
the very pretty little village of Quincy, where reside many of the 
more aristocratic families in the State, and which, as a matter of 
course, has a fashionable reputation. Our road as we approached 
the Chattahoochee, was much blocked up with fallen trees which 
had been blown down by a hurricane. It might indeed be said 
that the whole forest had been prostrated, for as far as the eye 
could reach, in every direction were to be seen the mammoth 
roots holding aloft their banners of greensward, memorials of 
the destroying winds. * On the borders of this scene of desolation 
and towering high above the Chattahoochee, stands the State 
Arsenal of Florida, a handsome building, with pleasant resi- 
dences beside it, but from its isolated position presenting an 
imposing appearance ; all the materials for its erection, like 
those of many other buildings of like character in the South, 
having been brought from the Northern States. From this 
point we began to descend into the neighboring valley, and on 
emerging from the gloom of a circuitous and thickly-canopied 
road we found ourselves on the margin of the Chattahoocl^ee 
river, and at the threshold of a lonely but most comfortable 
hotel, which we were told occupied the summit of an Indian 
mound. We reached this spot just as the sun was setting, and 



THE CHATTAHOOCHEE BIYER. 147 

the gloom of the hoar was in strict keeping with the tranquil 
stream, in whose depths, on every side, was mirrored a dense 
forest ; and it was while dreaming, after a good sapper, of this 
scene, and of the skeleton in Spanish armor which is said to 
have been foand in these waters, that I was suddenly awakened 
by the shout of '^ boat coming^'* and had to finish my dream in 
a state room on board the South Carolina. 

The Indian word Chattahoochee means muddy water, and 
the river is appropriately named. At the mention thereof my 
fancy wings its flight to the mountain land where this stream 
springs into ej^istence, where Trail mountain and Tallulah 
chasm are the grand features of the land where I spent one of 
the pleasantest summers of my life, and which owes much of its 
reputation to the brothers Richards, who, with the pencil and 
the pen have lovingly described its interesting scenery. The 
navigable portion of the Chattahoochee extends to Columbus, 
Georgia, which is called two hundred miles from the Bay of 
Apalachicola, into which it empties. It is a lonely stream, with 
alluvial banks ranging from ten to forty, but averaging some 
fifteen feet in height, and covered with a dense vegetation, 
where the magnolia flourishes and tangled clusters of vines 
abound continuously. The adjoining country is sparsely set- 
tled, but the Georgia side is more populous and thriving than 
that of Alabama, and the monotony of the scenery was plea- 
santly relieved by an occasional cotton-shed immediately on the 
bank, in the rear of which were invariably to be seen a cotton- 
gin and a cluster of dingy cabihs occupied by the planter and 
his slaves. The only incidents worth recording that we met with 
were the swimming of a hunted deer across the river, the flying 
across our bows of an occasional flock of turkeys, and the at- 
tempts of incipient sportsmen to shoot the wild ducks that every- 
where winnowed the air. But the gradual fading away of the 
verdure of the more remote South into the wintry aspect of a 
colder climate was full of interest, even to the casual observer ; 
and I noticed that north of what might be called the dividing 
line the magnolia and long gray mosses did not appear. 

The steamboat in which I came up the Chattahooche was the 



148 THE CHATTAHOOCHEE RIVER. 

best upon the river, quite comfortable, and, like the great ma- 
jority of those in Southern waters, was built at Pittsburgh. 
She was of the high-pressure genus, had a stern wheel, drew 
only two or three feet of water, and in making the dangerous 
passage from New Orleans to Pensacola had narrowly escaped 
being swamped. Her captain was all that could be desired in 
such an officer, and was assisted in his responsible duties by a 
couple of men who deserve particular mention. His engineer 
was Thomas Stubblefield, the inventor of an alarm water-gauge 
for which he had received a gold medal from the State of Penn- 
sylvania, and which has been of immense servidb in preventing 
explosions by steam on the Western waters. His pilot was an 
intelligent slave, but a man who had frequently refused his 
freedom. His name is Peter Porter, and the amount of money 
which he was then earning for his master was one hundred and 
fifty dollars per month, one-half of which was regularly paid to 
the slave himself for his own use. Besides being the best pilot 
on the river, and scorning the idea of being a free man, he was 
the best swimmer in the country. He had been on a number 
of cotton boats at the time they were sunk or consumed, and 
had saved the lives, at different times, of no less than seven 
persons — one colored girl, two ladies, two boys, and two young 
children. The last person whom he rescued was a lady who 
knew him, and had such confidence in his skill that, when 
standing on the burning boat and told by our sable hero to 
jump into the stream, she promptly obeyed ; when he plunged 
in and brought her safely to the shore. Indeed, all the subor- 
dinates on board the South Carolina were slaves, and not one 
of them but was abundantly able to instruct the free negroes on 
our Nothern steamers in the art of politeness. Most of these 
men were hired from their owners, and our captain informed 
me that it was customary everywhere in the South for the 
steamboat men to pay their hands from five to eight dollars per 
month more than their regular wages, which additional sum is 
called " Sunday wages," and is for the exclusive use of the 
slave. Such facts as these need no comment from my pen, and 
ought to put to the blush the ignorant fanatics of tht North. 



THE CHATTAHOOCHE£ KIVER. 149 

Among the passengers who ascended the Chattahoochee when 
I did, was a poor German taking to the State asylum of Georgia 
his only two children, who were deaf mutes and motherless. 
One of them was a boy of seven years, and the other a sweet 
little girl of ten, and their expressions of wonder at everything 
they saw and their strange efforts to be playful were painful to 
behold; and never can I forget the picture which they presented 
on a moonlight evening as they stood upon the upper-deck 
gazing in blank astonishment upon the sky, while their fond 
parent was pointing to the bright stars, and byjsigns attempting 
to explain their wonderful mission. The lonely river and the 
gloomy forest on either side were in keeping with the sadness 
which seemed to rest like a mantle upon the poor orphans and 
their sorrowful parent. Although this man resided in Alabama 
his children were born in Georgia, and for that reason and the 
man's poverty, the State had promised to give the boy a pro- 
fession or trade, and to instruct the little girl that she might 
become a useful and happy member of society. A noble deed, and 
worthy of that most noble, intelligent, and prosperous State ! 

But I must not forget to mention the cheerful aspect which 
our steamboat presented as she came in sight of Columbus and 
paddled her way up to the levee. While the captain invited 
the passengers to assemble on the upper-deck the mate treated 
his negro boatmen to a drink of whiskey, which was a signal 
for them to march to the bow of the boat for the purpose of 
dinging a song. There were twenty of them, and the ceremony 
was commenced by one of the fellows mounting the capstan and 
pretending to read the words to be sung from a newspaper, 
which he held upside down. Their voices were exceedingly 
good, but, instead of a regular song, the music was more of an 
incoherent chant, wild and mournful, and breathing forth such 
unpromptuwords as these: 

"We*8 up the Chattahoochee, 
On de good old South Calina, 
Qoing to see my true love. 
How is you my darlin? 
Now de work is over 
We's all coming homeP 



150 THE CHATTAHOOCHEE RIVER. 

To my unsophisticated ear there was more melody and pure 
sentiment in this native chant as it echoed over the tranquil 
waters, than I ever enjoyed in a fashionable concert room. 

From the Chattahoochee to the Tennessee river we travelled 
by railroad, taking the cars at Columbus, which is a thriving 
place, with four or five cotton factories ; spending a night at 
Macon, another business place, with a capital hotel; passing 
through Atlanta, which was quite a wilderness only a few years 
ago, but is now a kind of whirlpool of railroads ; and after a 
ride of over threfe hundred miles arriving at the growing town 
of Chattanooga, on the Tennessee. Western Georgia, in a 
picturesque point of view, is somewhat tame, but the soil is 
fertile, and the people industrious to an uncommon degree. 
Indeed, the present very prosperous condition of the whole 
State would seem to prove that, though a slave State, it can 
hold its own when compared with the more enterprising ones of 
the North. 

That portion of the Tennessee river extending from Chatta- 
nooga to Whitesburg (which is the port of Huntsville) is 
estimated at more than one hundred and fifty miles, and is by 
far the most picturesque and interesting on the river. The 
former place is surrounded with mountains which extend down 
the river for some twenty miles therefrom, hemming it in with 
jealous care, when they recede from the immediate^ banks and 
are only seen on either hand clothed in the enchantment of 
distance. In the immediate vicinity of Chattanooga rises a 
lofty peak, known as Look-out Mountain, from the summit of 
which the eyes may revel over all the mountain scenery of 
Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama. It obtained 
its appropriate name from the Cherokee Indians, who, in their 
time, were in the habit of looking out from this point far 
up the Tennessee, for the provision boats of the early emigrants 
that might be floating down, and which they often captured, 
murdering the poor whites who thus toiled for a support. But 
the grandest feature of the Tennessee is a mountain gorge called 
the Suck, through which the river passes, about fifteen miles 
from the Chattanooga. A travelled gentleman informed me 
that the scenery here reminded him of the Rhine ; it reminded 



1?HS CHATTAHOOCHEE RIVEE. 151 

me, however, of the Upper Mississippi and the palisade portion 
of the Hudson. For a dozen miles or so, limestone bluSs rise 
to a great height on either side, a little back of the river ; and 
while the immediate shores are covered with the most luxuriant 
vegetation, interspersed with gray rocks and an 'occasional log 
hnt, the summits of the hills loom against the sky in a great 
variety of abrupt outlines. The waters of the river rush through 
this mountain gate-way with great velocity, and, though the 
small steamboats descend the stream without danger, it is with 
great difficulty that they can ascend, and during high freshets 
it is quite impossible. Whirlpools and eddies, as a matter pf 
course, abound in the Suck, and the Georgia crackers or 
Tennessee trappers, who. gave it that poetical name, have 
fastened upon certain localities such names as the Pot, the Pan, 
and the Skillet. That such a spot should have been the scene 
of many narrow escapes from drowning, as well as of cruel 
Indian outrages, is to be expected ; and, among many others, 
the natives will tell you of Nancy Glover, who was the only 
survivor from an attack of Indians of a party of Royalists in 
1780, and who, after seeing her father, shot down took the helm 
of their little boat and guided it through the entire length or 
the gorge, thereby escaping with her life. That portion of the 
Tennessee extending from the Suck to Whitesburg runs through 
a hilly country but not mountainous ; and though the country 
is in reality well cultivated, yet the hard wood forests are suffi- 
ciently abundant to suggest ideas of the wilderness. Upon 
some of the bottom lands the trees and vines grow to immense 
size, and cotton and corn both attain their greatest perfection. 
Although the vegetation, when we came down was just beginning 
to assume its spring or summer garb, yet, it every where bore 
a most cheerful aspect, and the mistletoe hung from the trees 
in such great profusion as often to present a continuous wall of 
green along the banks of the stream. The red deer, I was 
informed, are very fond of this plant, and the hunters often 
decoy the poor creatures to death by plucking off bunches of 
the plant from the upper branches and hanging them upon the 
lower limbs, so that they can be reached by the browsing 



152 THE CHATTAHOOCHEE BIVER. 

animals. The only drawback to the pleasures of a voyage 
down the Tennessee arises from the miserable steamboats, which 
are usually stern-wheelers and exceedingly filthy, and the hotel, 
accommodations on the route. The road hitherward, however, 
is good, and so are the coaches. Thrf country is rolling, soil . 
very rich, plantations highly cultivated, negroes numerous and 
happy, and more than one-half of the real estate lying directly 
on the road is the property of a young, beautiful, and accom- 
plished woman, who is justly celebrated for her qualities and 
wealth as the heroine of these parts. 



HUNTSVILLE. 



With the town of Huntsville, Ala., I am quite delighted, and 
do not wonder at its reputation. It occupies an elevated position, 
and is hemmed in with high hills, from the summit of which it 
presents an uncommonly picturesque appearance. The sur- 
rounding country is very fertile and highly cultivated, and the 
cotton interest has made it a place of considerable business. It 
claims a population of some twenty-five hundred souls, contains 
many handsome residences, with several neat churches, and is 
the seat of two institutions of learning, the Bascom Institute, 
and a Presbyterian College. It is supplied with the best of 
water by a mammoth spring which gushes from a rock in the 
centre of the town, and this, with the array of from one to two 
hundred saddle-horses which are daily collected around the 
county court-house square, ought to be mentioned as among 
the features of the place. But, on becoming acquainted with 
the people of Huntsville, (as it has been my privilege,) the 
stranger will find that they are the leading attraction. Owing 
to its pleasant and healthful location a large number of the 
more influential families of the South have congregated here ; 
80 that the society is all that could be expected from a happy 
union of intelligence, refinement, and wealth. Several of the 
fortunes which are enjoyed here were acquired in New Orleans^ 
and, judging from the intimate intercourse existing between 
that city and this inland village, it might almost be imagined 
that the latter was the country cousin of the former. To this 
condition of things, therefore, may be attributed the fact that 
knowledge of the world and expansive ideas in regard to life 

VOL, II. — L 



154 HUNTSYILLE. 

are more a matter of course in this somewhat isolated place 
than in other Southern towns of the same size. To give an 
idea of the wealth of Huntsville it is only necessary to state 
that the aggregate fortunes of twenty well-known families, are 
said to amount to six millions of dollars. Some of the private 
hot-houses and gardens in the place would delight the most 
fastidious of horticulturists, albeit the mercury has fallen sixty- 
one degrees in the last ten hours. The lover of art will be 
surprised to find here a private gallery of paintings and sta- 
tuary which is said to have cost seventy-five thousand ddllars, 
and contains some productions of decided merit, which is a re- 
mark that many private galleries in the country cannot bear. 

On the score of hospitality, the people of Huntsville are un- 
surpassed by any of their neighbors, if indeed they do not excel 
very many of them. I would not make any unjust compari- 
sons, but I must judge from personal experience. I entered 
Huntsville a stranger, and took lodgings at its best hotel, which 
was comfortable, but by no means luxurious. Its reputation 
was not good, however, and this circumstance, in spite of my 
earnest excuses, caused me to become the guest of one of the 
leading families of the town, under whose roof I have been 
made to feel perfectly at home, and where I have been treated 
more like an old friend than a stranger. This is the way they 
treat pilgrims in Alabama, and no wonder, therefore, that the 
interpretation of its beautiful name should be Here we rest ; 
and now I remember, moreover, that Huntsville lies within the 
bend of that portion of the Tennessee river which caused it to 
receive the name of Spoon river^ thereby appropriately sug- 
gesting the idea that the good things of life are here most 
abundant. And thus much in a general way of this pleasant 
Southern town. 

And now for a sable incident or two, which I think worth 
mentioning on account of the morals they inculcate. On Sun- 
day last, in one of the leading churches of the town, and by an 
eloquent man, was preached a funeral sermon on the body of 
a negro child. There was a large attendance of rich planters 
4ind their wives, and much feeling was manifested by all pre- 



HUHTSVILLK. 155 

sent. The father of this child, though a slaye, is an expert 
blacksmith, and earns annually one thousand dollars, three 
Lnndred of which are given to his masterj while the remaining 
seyen hundred are retained by the ^^ down-trodden" yictim for 
ids own use and benefit. It would seem, therefore, that to hear 
the clanking of this man's chain the practical abolitionist would 
haye to enter his workshop. I have also witnessed since my 
arrival here a public sale of slave property. The number of 
persons disposed of was some half-dozen ; they belonged to the 
estate of a decoded planter, an4 were sold by his administra- 
tor for the benefit of his orphan children. The conditions of 
the sale were that no family-ties should be broken, and that 
deeds would be given only to those purchasers who would 
pledge themselves to be perfectly kind and humane. The 
prices ranged from one thousand to sixteen hundred dollars, 
and as much hilarity prevailed among the darkies when assem- 
bled in front of the court-house as if they were about to enter 
upon a frolic ; and I was forcibly impressed with the manner 
in which the more high-priced jeered those of the party who 
had only brought a thousand dollars, calling them ^' cheap 
thousand dollar niggers.'' The effect of the sale upon the or- 
phan children, however, was sad in the extreme, and I heard 
one' of them exclaim, a young lady, that she was altogether 
^' the greatest sufferer there." The same roof had sheltered 
them in other days, and I verily believe that if there had not 
been some legal impediment the orphans would have sacrificed 
their whole property before parting from their well-tried and 
devoted servants. 

The vicinity of Huntsville, although rich in many more im- 
portant things, is especially rich in odd characters, and one of 
my particular favorites of this genus is old John Evans, who 
must now make his bow to the public. He was born a vaga- 
bond, bred an overseer, and leads the life of a wayward and 
wandering hunter and fisherman. He is a middle-aged man, 
lank and brawny, amiable to the last degree, and a natural 
naturalist. It is said that he has made and been worth his fifty 
thousand dollars, but he sold himself to the Mephistophiles c^ 



! 
I 



156 HUNTSVILLE. 

Monongahela, and now lives in a log-cabin on the banks of the 
Tennessee, the poorest and most independent man in his conntj. 
He has been a close observer of the creatures with which he 
chiefly spends his time, and his conversations upon their habits 
are alwajs interesting. I give you a few items that I remem- 
ber. He had killed a rattlesnake measuring six feet in length, 
in whose stomach was found, nearly in a perfect state, a young 
fox ; and he has seen a water moccasin snake seize a small fish 
and hold it above the surface of the water, as if conscious of 
the fact that this was the quickest way to deprive it of life : 
and he also asserted, what seemed to me incredible, that the 
eyes of the common buzzard, after being pricked to blindness 
by a sharp knife, possessed the power of completely recovering 
themselves in the course of fifteen minutes, provided the head 
of the bird was placed under its wing during the time. In re- 
gard to this last assertion I proclaimed myself quite skeptical^ 
and yet John Evans will declare upon oath that he tried the 
experiment on five different birds with complete success, and I 
may add that one of the most intelligent and honorable gentle- 
men in Huntsville testifies to the truthfulness of Evans's strange 
story. From time immemorial old women have declared that 
down, under a buzzard's wing was good for sore eyes, and if 
the marvellous story cannot be traced to this medicinal one, 
then must we see in the latter a proof of the former. But as 
John Evans's explorations in natural history are usually more 
amusing than useful, so are his hunting expeditions more fre- 
qtent than profitable. He objects not to trapping an occa- 
sional beaver for the sake of the novelty, or to killing a deer, 
a few turkeys, or a score of ducks for the market, but he is a 
far happier man when he is lying in wait for the varmints of 
the country, as he calls them, such as the fox and the coon, the 
hedge-hog and the skunk, the mink and the corn-stealing crow. 
And in more than the figurative sense is our vagabond hunter 
a marked man, for the first glance at his countenance never 
fails to convince the stranger that he carries a double-faee, since 
the right side has been blackened with bruises and rendered 
'almost fleshless by the continual kickings of his rusty old gun, 



• HUNT8VILLB. 167 

wbieh lie declares shoots to perfection when about half filled 
with powder and shot. So industrious is he withal that he has 
been known to spend an entire day in wading a muddy pond 
for a few ducks, and devoting a whole night to revenging him*- 
self upon some unfortunate dog that may have chanced to 
annoy him on a quiet road which he is wont to travel. In spite 
of all this, however, he has a lasy look and a languid air ; and 
jet the most unaccountable of all his eccentric and contradic* 
tory traits is an overweening passion for wild horses. He dotes 
Hpon them, spends all his spare cash for good specimens, and 
the more vicious they are the better, and whether drunk or 
Bober he is » superior horseman. Indeed, so many have been 
Ids narrow escapes from being killed that he is known the coun- 
try round as ^Hhe man who never lets go ;" and the last two 
stories related of him, by way of proving his chief character- 
istic, are as follows : On one occasion, while journeying to a 
neighboring town, he chanced to kill a rattlesnake, and, desir- 
Big to preserve its oil for the cure of rheumatism, he cut off the 
serpent's head and deposited the body for safe keeping under a 
bush until his return home. He was riding at the time a very 
wild but partially blind horse, and, when the moment arrived 
for picking, up his plunder, he seized the snake in his left hand^ 
and, holding it aloft, continued his journey. The horse became 
frightened, and with a loud snort started to run away. The 
tail of the snake occasionally touched his flank and increased 
his fear; he became unmanageable and flew like the wind, until 
the people of Huntsville were alarmed by the sudden appear- 
ance in their midst of the steed and rider, around whose head 
the snake was flapping at a terrible rate, and whose only ex- 
clamation was a grunt of defiance, while the reptile was per- 
fectly secure in his convulsive grasp. On another occasion our 
friend John promised an acquaintance a mess of pickerel, (here 
erroneously called scSmon,) and started upon a fishing expedi- 
tion. He was successful, got drunk, and, mounting his horse, 
started for home. On his way thither he rolled from his sad- 
dle, caught his foot in a stirrup, and in this manner by the 
gentle and sagacious horse was dragged along the road, holdings 



168 HtTKTSVILLB, 

on like grim death to his string of fish, and muttering to him- 
self ^Hhis is a devilish rough road, any how." As fortune 
would have it, the very man for whom the fish were intended 
happened to meet the fisherman in his unhappy plight, and 
rushing to his assistance asked him if he was hurt ; whereupon 
John Evans exclaimed : " I told you so, Billy, by gum ; I've 
caught the two biggest salmon you ever did see." Many a 
black bottle has our hero emptied since that time, and many 
times has he been thought a dying man ; but he is still ^^ hold- 
ing on" to life, and is still pointed at as ^^ the man who never 
lets go." 

Since my arrival in Huntsville, about ten days ago, the rains 
have been unusually heavy, and the streams of the country are 
at present much higher than ever before known. All traveUing 
by water as well as by land has been suspended, and the Ten- 
nessee river, which at Whitesburg (the port of Huntsville,) is 
usually half a mile wide, is at preseht nearly five miles in width, 
and a three-story house, standmg on a high bank, where I took 
breakfast on my arrival, is only now discoverable by its chim- 
neys. I revisited the place for the purpose of sketching it, and 
the man who drove me down descanted upon it &s a ^^ one-horse 
concern," which I found to be a sneering epithet indiscriminately 
applied here to a poor town, a smaU steamboat, or a mean man. 
At one of the only two cabins belonging to Whitesburg which 
were not submerged I witnessed a young and delicate white girl 
chopping up a huge log of wood, and was told that, as her fa- 
ther was seldom at home and her mother was sick, she was in 
the habit of doing all the wood-cutting for the family. This 
picture reminded me of the back settlements of New England, 
where were bom some of the more notorious political declaim- 
ers against the slavery of the black race. 

But of all the impressions made upon me during my visit 
here, the most agreeable by far was made by Miss Julia Plea- 
sants, the young and accomplished poetess. She is as great a 
favorite in the entire South as she is in this her native town, 
and is destined to be wherever the thoughts of genius can be 
appreciated. She commenced her literary career by contri- 



HUNTSVILLE. 159 

bating an occasional poem to the Louisville Journal, whose 
distinguished editor, George D. Prentice, Esq., has done more 
by kindly words than any other man, to foster female talent 
and encourage the female writers of the country. Born and 
bred in the lap of luxury, it is a wonder that the intellect of 
Miss Pleasants should have been so well disciplined as its fruits, 
in spite of their unripeness, would lead one to suppose it had 
been; but death having recently made her an orphan, and 
taken from her side a much loved sister, she has been schooled 
in the ways of Providence as well as of the world, and now, 
when she strikes the lyre, it responds chiefly in those tones 
which find a resting-place in her sorrowing heart. That she 
has written and published too much is, perhaps, a matter of 
course. Her numerous admirers have been gratified, undoubt- 
edly, but she has not been benefited thereby, any more thto 
was Mrs. Hemans by her poetic repetitions. Like Mrs. Hemans, 
however. Miss Pleasants is a thinker and writer of a high order, 
and her mission upon earth cannot but be both beautiful and 
profitable. As she has not yet published a volume of her poems, 
it is hardly proper that I should view her with a "critic's eye;" 
but the carefully considered compliment that I would pay to 
her genius, is abundantly fortified by a manuscript volume of 
her better productions, which it has been my privilege to read 
and to enjoy. The most ambitious and most faultless poem 
which she has yet written, is called " The Viewless Bride,'' 
and is a superb ^personification of the New Year. It is allied 
in spirit to Bryant's " Thanotopsis," quite as original in con- 
ception, and nearly as melodious and hymn-like a composition. 
And another poem, entitled " The Lost" written in memory of 
her parents, can hardly be read without tearful emotions. That 
I am permitted to append these two poems to this letter, 
is simply an evidence of my importunity and the lady's 
kindness. 



160 EUNT8yiLi:.E. 



Sad, Bad and low the Old Tear's dying sigh^ 

Steals up the cloudy ramparts of the sky ; 

And gaily to the midnight's silvery chime, 

The fair Toung Year trips through the wintry rime. 

The beautiful Young Year I all tears, all smiles, 

Emerging from the future's shadowy aisles. 

Her snowy garments flutter far and wide, 

And raporous mystery veils the Yiewless Bride. 

The night-winds warble as she wanders by ; 

The night-clouds flee the empyrean laguli. 

And merry stars come, singing joyous rhyme, 

To grace her bridal with primoi^ial Time. 

With time, that grand and high mysteriarch, « 

Who leads his rites through regions dim and dark» 

And wins the vestal years, a lovely race, 

To bloom and perish in his wild embrace. 

And yet how bright and careless glistens now, 

The cloudless radiance of the New Year's brow; 

The gentlest twilight-fall not yet hath shed 

Its dewy darkness on her youthful head ; ' 

Swift o'er the glacial sward she gaily flies, 

And carols to the blue columnar skies. • 

She recks not of the cycles gone before. 

That died like surges on a storm-beat shorCf 

But light and airy is her printless tread, 

And joyous o*er the slumbers of the dead. 

.Ah ! who can tell through what a wildering way — 

Through what a wild her onward track shall ^tray ? 

How often will she view the night-stars pate. 

And lordly forests totter to the gale. 

The morning sky with weighty tempests bowed. 

And tears descend from evening's lilac cloud ; 

What wrecks shall strew the stretching oceaasands* 

When glory leads to strife the clashing bands ; 

What cities &1I to rise not up again, 

When earthquakes desolate the peopled plain. 

Alas I it needs no prophet's trump to peal 

The woes her future wanderings shall reveal ; 

We see her marching now— a victress chief, 

In all the dark emblaionry of grief; 



* HUNT8VILLB. 161 

Aroand the bright OlympUn sun she dragi • 

A ruined star, and waves her flamy flags. 

A myriad fluttering pulses cease to beat, 

And crimson heart-drops stain her snowy feet. 

Far down the star-lit vistas of the sky 

Her pean wild-like muffled thunders fly— 

They fly, alas I the saddest, saddest song, 

In all the chwus of the astral throng. 

The fair Toung Tear I her dowry is the tears 

That stricken mortals fling on silent biers ; 

Her bridal garlands are the sorrowing rue. 

The funeral cypress and the tristful yew. 

She cannot shun the woe her touch imparts, 

For each fresh footstep crushes human hearts ; 

And Aill where'er she turns through boundless space. 

Death, death she finds the heir-loom of her race. 

The bright New Year I What dark and fearful change 

Her step will bring upon the mountain range-^ 

Beside the silver stream— ouli on the sea. 

And where the desert girds the lone palm-tree ; 

To many a tropic clime — where icebergs roll 

In silent grandeur round the frigid pole — 

Where lava-tongues fork through the crater's mouth. 

And swifl Sif occos sweep the lovely South — 

Where iron battle leads his crested van — 

Wherever roams the restless race of man. 

Ah ! yes, though now she carols but of glee, 

To many a one her silvery song will be. 

The honey-birds, that wiles vritb tuneful air, 

The Eastern traveller to the wild beast's lair. 

Such sorrows are, and oh t far more beside, 

The pale attendants of the youthfol bride ; 

And yet sometimes she circles, like the larks, 

With musio through the dawning grey and dark. 

The fair young Year I pale trembling thing I She brings 

Some blessings dripping from her dewy wings ; 

Not altogether is she crowned with tears. 

But here and there a sunshine streak appears. 

And who could not forgive a double face. 

When half is wreathed with smiles and gilt with grace ? 

Aye I though she only boasts of terrene birth, 

She'll make for some an i!den of this earth : 



162 HUNTSVILLB. 

We see her now with angel wings unfurled, 

In pitying guardage of a shipwrecked world. 

She calls her children out by bright blue streams, 

And gives to truthful spirits pleasant dreams. 

She loads with song the night-bird's silver tongue, 

And nurtures tulips for the gay and young ; 

While round the good man's wrinkling brow she weaves, 

With tender hand, the snowy almond leaves. 

She thriUs with joy the artist's raptured soul. 

When crimson twilights round the welkin roll ; 

And cheers the swain with thoughts of future ease, 

When Autumn's fruitage bends the orchard trees. 

To one she gives a proud and lustral name. 

And circles genius with the wreath of fame, 

Then where the bright hymeneal altar glows. 

She crowns another with a blushing rose. 

And some shall find a bright and shining hope. 

That long had mocked the costliest telescope, 

When they shall learn the joy of sins forgiven. 

And tread the straight but starry path to Heaven. 



How kind they are, to come in sleep. 
When earth is robed in silence deep. 
And soothe, with pressure soft and mild, 
The weary temples of their child. 

How good, to leave unswept the wires 
Of gold, whioh grace their angel lyres ; 
And breathe such loving lays divine, 
Across a heart so sad as mine. 

It is no dream, I see them now — 
Above my couch they gently bow. 
As oft in childhood's morn they came 
When illness touched my tender frame. 

They look not old, (their veins are rife 
With gushings from the fount of life,) 
But young, as when they joined their lot 
In love, which death divided not. 



nuNTsyiLLE. 16S 

Their locks are thrown, as if to hide 
'The scarce-seen wings on either side, 
For fear I might not recognize 
Sach shining wanderers from the skies. 

But memory never could forget 
Those white-arched feet so firmly set, 
Which seemed to childhood's wondering mien, 
Fit only for a fairy queen. 

^Tis she I beneath its dark-brown hair 
No otner brow could shine so fair, 
And with the soul's pure radiance grace 
That soft divinely Grecian face. 



That chiseled head — that clear profile 
That living intellectual smile — 
Those soft blue eyes — that voice, which stirs 
My very soul — they all are hers.* 

" My child" — ^what tones of love profound, 
(Earth hath not now so sweet a sound ;) 
" Let grief no more corrode thy breast. 
And break thy sainted mother's rest. 

" My stricken darling, mourn her not. 
But be contented with thy lot ; 
Let all thy life be good and pure, 
And teach thy spirit to endure." 

And who is he, with visage bland 
Who holds in his her slender hand ? 
A mien so free — a heart so true, 
This clouded earth sure never knew. 

He speaks, and to each tender tone, 
My soul returns impassioned moan ; 
While shades of bright but fleeting years 
Are mirrored darkly in my tears. 

" My daughter"— ob! that thrilling word — 
My heart is quivering like a bird 
Through which, while breasting stormy skies, 
The archer's gilded arrow flies. 



164 



HUXTSVILLB. 



'^My daaghter" — ah I a thick'ning flight 
Of sighs break through the bars of night, 
And all its flood of tear-drops roll 
UpHeaying from mj billowy soul. 

m 

They stain the loying hands, which now 
Would calm the aching of my brow, 
While fast their heavenly features grow 
Overshadowed with terrestrial wo. 



They cannot brook so sad a sight, 
On wavering wings, they take their 4ight; 
They seek again the Eternal Throne, 
And I am left alone,--alone. 



THE ALABAMA RIVER. 



In comlDg from HuntsviUe to Mobile I took 19. round-about 
course of no particular interest, to Montgomery y and came down 
the Alabama river by steamboat. The seat of government of 
this State is one of the most thriving towns in the South ; and 
I can well believe what I have heard, that all its inhabitants 
have a business to follow, and are invariably true to their in- 
terests as business men. The city lies directly on the great 
United States mail-route from Washington to New Orleans, 
and is of course much visited by strangers ; and it is the centre 
of one of the most productive and wealthy cotton-growing sec- 
tions of the Southern States. It is pleasantly situated on an 
elevated bank of the Alabama, and commands two interesting 
views of the river, which bounds it on the north. The highest 
point within its limits is capped by the Capitol, from which the 
eye wanders down a broad street somewhat resembling Penn- 
sylvania avenue. It boasts of a large and handsome hotel, 
which is kept in a manner to please the most fastidious. By 
virtue of its character as the law-making place for the whole 
State it is a fashionable city, and, as the fashions of the South 
are somewhat peculiar, I will touch upon a few of them in 
passing. 

Everybody is highly dressed, and while the gentlemen con- 
fine themselves to black, wear massive gold chains, and always 
support their dignity with a cane, the ladies dress in the 
brightest colors obtainable. The size of the canes used by the 
former is graduated by the size of the gentleman, in an inverse 
ratio, and occasionally you may meet a small dandy with a 



166 THE ALABAMA RIVER. 

club large enough to frighten Hercules. The use of tobacco is 
almost universal among the men, and not uncommon with the 
other sex ; the former devoting themselves to it in the shape 
of cigars and fine-cut, and the women, hailing generally from 
the country, in the form of snuff. " Dipping for snuff," as 
they express it, is a prevailing practice with ladies in several 
of the Southern States, and is used ostensibly as a dentifrice. 
While travelling I have met at the hotels and in private houses 
females carrying in their hands a small bottle of snuff, and, in- 
stead of using it after the common mode, they apply it to their 
teeth by means of a soft pine stick, prepared for the purpose. 
That this habit affords an exhilarating pleasure to those who prac- 
tice it, is undoubtedly true, but to the mere looker-on it caps 
the climax in the way of tobacco abominations. But the city 
ladies of the South, if they do not use tobacco after the fore- 
mentioned fashion, often follow another fashion which is hardly 
less offensive to good taste — the fashion of powdering their 
faces and painting their cheeks and lips ; and instances have 
occurred where a mother has actually ventured to paint the 
lips of her infant child. Let but such facts as these become 
notorious, and the proverb of " painting the lily" will become 
obsolete. The poet says, " a thing of beauty is a joy forever," 
and the remark is true ;* but I could never see any more beauty 
in a painted white woman than I could in a painted Indian 
man. Were it not for the practice alluded to, more beautiful 
women could nowhere be found than in the South ; and it is to 
be hoped the day is not distant when all such unhandsome habits 
will be abolished. 

Although Montgomery is considered at the head of naviga- 
tion, steamboats occasionally ascend a few miles further to 
Wetumpka, on the Coosa river ; and from that point to Mobile 
the distance is rated by the pilots at four hundred and forty 
mUes. I came down the river in a leisurely manner, whereby 
I had an opportunity of trying all the better steamboats and of 
examining the towns and landings which line the river. Of the 
latter my. note-book tells me that there are no less than two 
hundred, which simply means that this is the number of private 



THB ALABAMA BIVSR. 167 

individuals whose plantations are honored with the same atten- 
tion which in the Northern States is only conferred upon vil- 
lages and towns. In the time of high fresh«ts, however, the 
lowlanderSy who constitute the majority, are compelled to haul 
their cotton for shipment to th'e bluffs of their more fortunate 
neighbor, the h%ghlander9. Upon these spots are generally 
erected spacious warehouses, some of which are shed-like in 
their appearance and a hundred yards long ; while others built 
up from the ordinary ^ater-mark, are many stories high. Long 
and steeply-inclined planes are necessary appendages to all 
these storehouses, down which the heavy bales are slidden with 
wonderful dexterity by the plantation negroes, and tiered up 
on the steamers by the negro boatmen to the number sometimes 
of two thousand bales. To the traveller who is in a hurry, this 
important business of taking on cotton is a great bore, but to 
those who can take pleasure in witnessing athletic feats, or hav^e 
a taste for the picturesque, it is full of interest. The negroes, 
as individuals or in gangs, are always amusing to contemplate 
or talk with, and it needs but little sagacity to discover that, if 
they are low in intellect, they are often far from deficient in 
humanity and moral culture which cannot always be said of the 
plantation overseers and steamboat mates who superintend the 
loading of cotton. The whole aspect of an Alabama bluff when 
a steamer is shipping cotton at night is truly beautiful ; for 
then it is that pitch-pine torches illuminate the entire scene ; 
and, while the gay passengers are dancing and feasting in the 
gilded saloon of the steamer, the loud and plaintive singing of 
the negroes gives animation and cheerfulness to all whose lot it 
is to toil. In managing the heavy bales the negroes invariably 
work in pairs, and an iron hook, which each man always carries 
about his person, is the unmistakable badge of his profession. 
A hard time of it for a few weeks in the winter do these fellows 
have ; but then they seem to be quite happy. Hardly ever, for 
even an hour are they permitted to sleep undisturbed upon their 
only beds, the cotton bales, and at all times are they summoned 
by the perpetually ringing bells to their severe labor. , They are 
well fed, however ; and I noticed that they were usually supplied 



168 THE ALABAMA RIVBB. 

« 

■ 

with a moderate but comfortable quantity of grog. Their 
wages vary from thirty to thirty-five dollars per month, with one 
dollar and a half for Sunday wages. The freight upon a bale of 
cotton for any distance is one dollar. 

Of the few towns or villages at which I tarried I have but 
little to write. Selma, which is flanked by a rich and well-cul- 
tivated country, is a place of schools, and is flourishing. But 
with this place is associated, in my mind, a picture which was 
quite touching. It consisted of four slaves, three women and 
one man, who were seated upon the upper forward deck of the 
steamer, while directly at their side stood two gentlemen, be- 
tween whom a bargain had been completed in regard to the 
servants. When the boat was about to start and the parting 
moment came, the old master went up and spoke kindly to the 
slaves, shaking each one twice by the hand, and said, ^' Good- 
bye ; take good care of yourselves ; I was too poor to keep you 
but you are not separated." To which the slaves all replied, 
" Good-bye, good-bye, good old master ; God bless you !" 
Cahaba is another flourishing and cheerful little place, where I 
found comfortable hotel accommodations and witnessed the per- 
formances of an artesian well which is said to yield thirteen 
hundred gallons of water in a minute. Of Claiborne the next 
and only village on the Alabama worth mentioning, I have to 
say to you that it is chiefly remarkable for its elevation, since 
you have to ascend to it by an almost endless flight of steps, 
and for its bed of fossil tertiary shells. In this town it was, by 
the way, that Sir Charles Lyell was mistaken for a Methodist 
clergyman, and it is to be regretted that he did not dofi* the man 
of science for an hour and give the citizens a few ideas on the 
advantages of temperance, hospitality and common decency; 

In describing the Alabama steamboats it is only necessary 
to say that they belong to the same high-pressure and boiler- 
bursting genus found on all the Southern and Western rivers. 
They are almost invariably built somewhere on the Ohio, and 
when above the mediocrity, are really splendid afiairs. The 
fare from Montgomery to Mobile is ten dollars, and for this 
you are furnished with a state-room and as good eating as the 



THE ALABAIC^ RIVBR. 169 

conntry affords, the great drawback being the half French 
fashion in which the food is cooked and placed upon the table. 
Claret and white wines are also furnished without additional 
cost, and if you desire it you can have a cup of coffee served to 
you before leaving your berth. Even the negroes revel on all 
these so considered luxuries. As a general thing more atten- 
tion is paid to the comfort of the lady passengers by the officers 
on board these Southern steamers than is usual in the Northern 
States, and the servants are universally polite and accommoda- 
ting, if not particularly tidy. As an offset to the above-named 
advantages, however, must be mentioned the annoyances iden- 
tified with bar rooms and gaming tables. The habit of gam- 
bling is very common, and, excepting in a few of the better boats 
professional blacklegs, usually travelling in pairs, but always 
appearing as strangers, are allowed the freedom of the boats. 
Their regular business, as a matter of course, is to fleece the 
unwary, which they do by marked cards and other tricks ; and 
I am informed that it is no uncommon circumstance for an inno- 
cent but silly planter to lose five thousand dollars in a single ' 
night. Once in a while, however, you may find a captain of a 
boat who has enough love for his kind to inform his marked 
passenger of his danger by warning him against certain meek 
looking gentlemen. The speed of the Alabama boats varies 
from ten to twenty miles an hour. 

And now for a running account of the Alabama river. For 
about two hundred miles below Montgomery its characteristics 
are moderately-elevated banks and a vegetation peculiar to a 
temperate climate, where even in winter the forests have a 
greenish tinge on account of the great quantity of mistletoe. 
But, as you descend the stream, the banks gradually become 
almost level with the water, and a continuous forest of cypress 
and magnolia, of live oak and juniper, fades awfty to the sky in 
every direction ; and their sombre effect upon the mind, with 
their never-ending festoons of gray moss, is by no means miti- 
gated by the muddy, sluggish and lonely stream. Cultivated 
fields and comfortable mansions are nowhere to be seen from 
the river ; but in their stead, linking the dark woods with the 

voir. n. — M 



170 



THE ALABAMA BIVER. 



yellow water, are long lines of reedy jungles, all green and 
monotonous, with here and there the huts of wood-choppers and 
hunters of the bear. Many of the trees which lie stranded on 
the shores or loom gloomily out of their watery beds are of 
enormous size. As I have seen specimens bending with the 
weight of their grape vines, huge and multitudinous, I have 
been reminded of an old monarch in chains ; and when I have 
seen others holding aloft over the stream their great masses of 
moss they have almost seemed to breathe the words, ^^ Beware, 
stranger ! Come not here ; death is here, death is here." From 
that point where it is joined by the Tombigbee to Mobile, the 
Alabama was formerly called after the city of Mobile, and as it 
widens into 'the bay of that' name its long reaches are truly 
grand and imposing ; and at the sunset hour, when in one di- 
rection the smoke of an unseen steamer in a bend of the river 
is rolling high into the air and in another you see an extensive 
marsh on fire, the effect is marvellously fine and imposing. 



THE TOMBIGBEE AND BLACK WARRIOR RIVERS. 



Intending to revisit Mobile, I only remained there long 
enough to secure a passage up the Tombigbee and Black 
Warrior rivers, and in this letter I propose to Embody my 
experiences in regard to them. What has been said generally, 
in the preceding letter, of the scenery, towns, and stft^mboats 
of the Alabama river is quite applicable to the rival streams 
flowing through the westward section of the State. My first 
steamboat trip up the Tombigbee took me to the quiet and 
pleasant town of Columbus, in Mississippi, between which place 
and Mobile it was impossible for me to ascertain the distance, 
since no two of the natives told the same story, but I remember 
that the landing places numbered two hundred and seventy- 
three. Our boat was one of the best on the river, but, as there 
was a strife between her and her captain as to which would 
carry the highest head of steam, the sail was anything but 
soothing to the nerves ; and moreover we were nightly beset 
with heavy fogs, so that the local vulgarism of " going it blind" 
was fully appreciated. 

With the efforts of our steac^boat hands to make the nightly 
darkness visible I was amused, for they accomplished their 
object by hanging out huge pine wood torches from either side 
of the boat, and whenever she got entangled among the trees, 
which was frequently the case, there was a display of fireworks 
among the mossy trees more novel than interesting. 

Our supply of gamblers was unusually large, and the manner 
in which I saw a game of cards broken up was quite exciting. 
The hero of the incident was a rich planter, who had been 



172 THE TOMBIGBBB AKD BLACK WARRIOR RIVBRS. 

swindled out of several handred dollars by means of marked 
cards, and who, having had his suspicions roused, called for a 
fresh pack, and when the game commenced, very coolly laid a 
loaded pistol on the table, and remarked that he would shoot 
the very first man whom he even suspected of foul play. As 
a matter of course he lost no more money en that trip. On 
my way up the Tombigbee I was first made acquainted with the 
true version of the witty incident which has done more than any 
thing else to give this river its reputation. When William H. 
Crawford was Secretary of the Treasury he wrote to the col- 
lector at Mobile, Silas Dinsmore, to ascertain the length of this 
river, which request he worded to this effect : " How far docs 
the Tombigbee run up?" To which the laconic Collector 
replied: ^'The Tombigbee does not run up at all; it runs 
down;" and was by the return mail dismissed from office. Mr. 
Dinsmore is universally mentioned as a man of ability. A 
favorite theory with him was that America was peopled by the 
Northmen, and, as a compliment for several articles that he 
wrote upon the subject, the King of Denmark presented him 
with a diploma. The original name of this river was Ich-tom- 
big-a-bee, which in the Choctaw tongue means Trunk River. 
It was so called because in very early times a man lived upon 
it who made boxes. Those who now live on its banks tell me 
that it is subject to high freshes and of course muddy, but that 
in summer it is picturesque and very clear. A single day'was 
enough to exhaust the wonders of Columbus, as well as those of 
its more aristocratic neighbor and rival, the town of Aberdeen, 
beyond which steamboats seldom ascend ; and a drive of two 
days, over a horrible road and anjminteresting country, brought 
me to Tuscaloosa, on the Black Warrior river. 

And what shall I say of this famous Tuscaloosa, which derives 
its name from a noted Indian chief who had the honor of giving 
De Soto a thrashing in the times of old? It is a beautifully 
situated and tastefully laid out town, with broad streets and 
many pleasant residences, but at the present time sadly dilapi- 
dated. It was formerly the capital of the State, but everything 
like government patronage having been transferred to Mont- 



THB TOMBIGBBE AND BL^CK WARRIOR RIVBRS. 178^ 

gomery, its people seem to have become disheartened and lost 
all their former enterprise. Nothing more forcibly reminded 
me of this fact than the appearance of the hotel where I lodged, 
which in its dimensions is quite imposing, for it measures in 
length three hundred and forty feet, and is three or four stories 
high. Many a time in other days has it been the home and 
.congregating-place of three hundred and fifty persons, while its 
present list of boarders does not number more than ten persons. 
A walk through its deserted chambers reminded me of Moore's 
song about the halls of Tara. I felt a respect for the house 
for its apparent antiquity, and when informed that the land- 
lord had been stationed here for nearly twenty years, I looked 
upon him as a curiosity, for such things are not generally 
permitted by the "fast" age in which we live. 

Many objects that I stumbled upon reminded me of the gay 
life which was once led here by the aristocracy of the. land, and 
as I reflected upon the cause of this great change which had 
taken place, and upon the intrinsic merits of the town, I felt 
provoked with its present race of inhabitants. They are a 
stagnant people, in a stagnant place, but the fault is their own. 
Not only is the town the centre of a fertile corn and cotton- 
growing region, but it is at the head of navigation on the Black 
Warrior' river, and is flanked by a coal and iron region ninety 
miles long and from ten to thirty wide, with coal seams not less 
th&n ten feet in thickness. Its climate is all that could be 
desired for health and comfort, and it is interesting to natural- 
ists as constituting the extreme southern limit to which the 
ancient carboniferous vegetation has been traced in the northern 
hemisphere. In addition to all this, its citizens are highly 
intelligent, and it is the seat of a flourishing institution of 
learning, the University of Alabama, whose officers consist of 
a president, eight professors, a secretary, and librarian. A 
more intelligent or refined body of literary and scientific 
gentlemen I have never seen anywhere. 

. One of them. Prof. Michael Tourney, an amiable and talented 
man, is the geologist of the State, and has published a number 
of able reports; and another, the Professor of ancient Ian- 



174 THE TOMBIGBEE AND BLACK WARRIOB EIVERS. 

gnages, Samuel M. Stafford, in a career of official duty extending 
through eighteen years, has only lost two days, and on these he 
was an invalid. The college buildings occupy a very pleasant 
spot in the vicinity of a romantic fall of water ; and, while its 
general library of 8,000 volumes is particularly rich in rare 
and valuable works, its cabinets are also of superior excellence. 
The present number of students is one hundred and eight, 
and I was informed that the expenses of obtaining an education 
there, with economy, and without room furniture, clothing, and 
travelling, need not amount to more than $200 per annum. 
There is also going up in Tuscaloosa an extensive building, in- 
tended for a State asylum for the insane. It is to be built of 
brick, is eight hundred feet long, and while the ' architect, 
Samuel Sloan, is from Philadelphia, all the masons and carpen- 
ters are slaves. A cotton factory and a paper mill have also 
been established here, and in the hands of Yankees are both 
doing well. "What folly, therefore, is it in the people of Tus- 
caloosa to be forever sighing over the departure of their former 
glory, which was, after all, not much more than a fanciful idea ? 
Tuscaloosa ought to be a gem of a place, and if its men of pro- 
perty would only boast less of their cotton bales and smart 
negroes, and do a little more with their own perpetually gloved 
hands, they would increase their own happiness and respect- 
ability as members of the body politic. Though a very slow 
one at the present time, it was in former days a very fast one ; 
and, as an evidence of this fact, it may be stated that every 
lawyer glories in the title of judge, every sporting character in 
that of colonel, while the titles of general and captain and major 
are as plentiful as politicians. 

From my agreeable landlord and other persons in Tuscaloosa, 
I obtained a number of items which I think worth recording, as 
illustrative of some of the peculiar phases of fortune and South- 
ern life. The " Flush Times of Alabama," which have been so 
admirably described in the popular book bearing that title, 
occurred in the memorable year of 1837. One individual, 
whose credit was at that time so low that he could not obtain 
his grog upon credit, was nevertheless so great a fayorite of 



THE TOMBIGBEB AND BLACK WARRIOR RIVERS. 175 

fortune, that he went to New York and parchased goods upon 
credit to the extent of $50,000 ; and what surprised me a little 
was the recollection that my own hands had marked his numerous 
packages, when I was a Pearl street clerk. By way of depict- 
ing the peculiar business traits of the modern Tuscaloosians, it 
has been stated to me that while an extensive bed of coal is 
known to exist within a mile of the town, it is customary to 
order even from Philadelphia the needed supply; and that 
while the country affords a beautiful quality of marble, the 
tombstones of the place are all imported from Italy. To give 
their sons a liberal education is a paramount idea with the 
planters of this region, and where they can afford it no expelises 
are spared ; but when you come to talk about acquiring a pro- 
fession and practising it, that is altogether a different affair. 
With many persons the impression seems to be that the only ele- 
gant way in which to pass through life, is to have a plantation 
and do nothing at all. To such an extent is the idea of doing 
nothing sometimes carried, that this story is told of one indi- 
vidual : He had obtained a new book, and while he threw 
himself in his wife's chair to enjoy its contents, she went out to 
make some calls. On her return she found her husband in 
bed, and, on anxiously questioning him about his health, he 
very coolly replied that "the fire went out, and he had resorted 
to the bed to get warm," although at the same time there was 
a pile of wood in an adjoining room, and a dozen servants on 
the premises, but the trouble of ringing the bell was not to be 
undertaken. But I would not be censorious in* m^ remarks; 
and, by way of illustrating the healthfulness . of the public 
mind, (though I cannot say much of what the hands are 
doing,) I would state the fact, that the National Intelligencer 
and New York Observer are the journals which you most fre- 
quently find patronised by the reading men of this section of 
country. And this allusion to good papers reminds me of a 
circumstance connected with a good book, viz: Horse-Shoe 
Robinson, by Mr. Kennedy. Within an hour's ride of Tusca- 
loosa, and in a lonely forest, is the grave of the hero of that 
novel. He came from South Carolina into Alabama at an early 



176 THE TOMBIQBEE AND BLACK WABBIOB RIYEES. 

day, and died here about ten years ago.* Many people now 
living remember to have heard him recount the manifold adven- 
tures he had experienced in the campaigns, and his name is 
ever mentioned with respect and affection. His real name was 
Galbraith, but from the fact that he had been a blacksmith, he 
obtained the soubriquet of Horse-Shoe Bobinson ; and I am 
informed that to the description of his person by Mr. Kennedy, 
ought to be added the peculiarity of remarkably high cheek 
bones and deeply sunken eyes, both strikingly indicative of 
his true character. He has a grandson living in Tuscaloosa at 
the present time. 

The character of the Black Warrior or Tuscaloosa river is 
precisely similar to that of the Tombigbee; and, as I came 
down it in a steamer tha^was overloaded with cotton and cattle, 
I will pass on to what I have to say of Demopolis. This town 
lies on the eastern bank of the Tombigbee, and differs from its 
neighbors in being flanked by a rich prairie country. It was 
settled by a colony of French families at the conclusion of the 
Napoleon wars, and among them were several of his officers. 
One of them, named Baoul, who was a genuine colonel in the 
French army, came to this country with a letter of introduction 
from Lafayette to Madison. During his sojourn at Demopolis, 
he obtained his living by keeping a bcow ferry, but subsequently 
returned to France, was reinstated in the army, and died a 
general. A few of the old French residents are still left in 
Demopolis, and are a most interesting portion of the commu- 
nity, wheve all are intelligent, hospitable and polite. 

One thing that I heard of, but unfortunately did not see in 
the vicinity of Demopolis, was a manuscript Bible of great an- 
tiquity. It is the property of Dr. John B. Witherspoon, who 
believes it, on the testimony of tradition and the title page, to 
have been written about the year 850. It has been described 
to me as being eight inches long, six inches broad, and five 
inches thick, and is written on parchment, richly illuminated, 
and bound in oak. The fortunate proprietor is a resident, I 
believe, of the village of Greensboro', in this State. 

My voyage from Demopolis to this place was attended by no 



THB TOMBIGBBB AND BLACK WARRIOR RIVBRS. 177 

remarkable incidents, but by many that were characteristic of 
the river. We stopped at scores of plantations, now taking on 
board a hundred and then only five bales of cotton, at one place 
a few horses and mules, and at another a lot of cattlej which 
the frolicsome negroes forced on board the boat by biting and 
twisting their tails. At nearly all the landing places we no- 
ticed the negroes at work in the fields, and the women had a * 
trick of dropping their hoes and running to the steamboat, to 
receive from the boatmen presents of tobacco, which were always 
distributed with great liberality. The only dwellings that we 
saw were rude log-cabins, and it was difficult oftentimes to dis- 
tinguish the planter's residence from the domicils of his slaves ; 
and, while a cotton-gin was invariably attached to each planta- 
tion, there were occasionally to be seen forlorn and deserted 
cabins, which reminded me of a man walking on stilts, so high 
were the blocks or trunks of trees on which they stood. The 
owners of the plantations where we stopped were seldom or 
never seen, but the overseers always. All the parties that met 
each other seemed to be personally acquainted, and so free and 
easy were the "down-trodden" negroes, that I have frequently 
seen them go up to the captain of the boat, or to the overseer, 
and ask him for a bit of tobacco or a cigar. As in the works 
of Nature in this Southern land there is a free luxuriance, so 
among the people is there a freedom of intercourse, which gives 
the lie to nearly all the assertions of the political fanatics of 
the North. 

And now for a " disjointed chat" about St. Stephen's, which 
is decidedly, to my mind, one of the most interesting places in 
Alabama, because not only of its history and its patriarch, but 
on account of the model plantation with which and with whose 
proprietor I have become acquainted. But I must particularize. 
The modern town of St. Stephen's consists only of a picturesque 
bluff overlooking the Tombigbee, a post office and land office, 
hidden in the piney woods some two or three miles from the 
river, four or five rude cabins within a rifle shot of each other, 
also in the woods, and one large plantation, extending from the 
river north of the bluff mentioned, to the public offices. The 



178 THE TOMBiaSEE AND BLACK WARBIOR RIVERS. 

ancient town of St. Stephen's as it might be called, however, 
and which stood upon the bluff, was a very different affair ; for, 
about fifty years ago, it was the largest town and principal 
post in the Alabama valley, as well as the centre of an exten- 
sive Indian country. It numbered several thousand inhabitants, 
was protected by a Spanish fortress, under which was a natural 

• cave which is still worth visiting. It transacted quite a large 
commercial business, and contained a theatre, a bank and an 
academy. All the better buildings in the town were of stone, 
and it is said, altogether presented a handsome appearance. 
But nature and fortune wore against the place, and more rapidly 
than it arose did it degenerate into a hamlet of no importance, 
when the few remaining inhabitants posted off almost in a body 
to Mobile ; and it is a singular circumstance that some two hun- 
dred of the picturesque edifices now to be found in that city 
once towered in beauty on the bluff of St. Stephen's. 

But the glory of this old town is forever departed, and the 
<jeorgia Cracker spake truly when he said of it that it reminded 
him of what he had read in the Bible — Bdbhy Lion, Rank 
weeds have taken sole possession of the abandoned cellars, while 
here and there may be seen the unmarked graves of men whose 
fortunes were identified with and who ended their days on this 
spot. One that I remember deserves to be mentioned with par- 
ticular regard. His name was J. M. Thompson, and he was the 
first man who ever took a cargo of provisions from the Ohio 
river to the Alabama valley, and this he accomplished by means 
of a barge of thirty-five tons, propelled by fifteen oars and 
manned by as many Kentuckians, who were all '^ half-horse and 
half-alligator*' fellows. They had an easy time of it floating 
down the Mississippi, rather a dangerous one in coastitig the 
Gulf of Mexico, and when they came in sight of the then 
Spanish fort of Mobile, they hoisted the American flag and 

. passed directly up the river without even condescending to ask 
permission. It was a daring and high-handed act, and the 
guns at the fort were got ready to fire upon the trespassers, 
when the commandant concluded that the men must be mad, 
positively crazy ; so they escaped unharmed. Thompson made 



THE TOMBIGBEB AND BLACK WARRIOR RIVERS. 179 

money by his venture, became a citizen of St. Stephen's but 
died a few months after his arrival. The crew that accompa- 
nied him from the Ohio took to evil ways, and the majority of 
them were either killed in private fights or executed by the 
Spanish authorities for breaking the laws. 

Another man formerly identified with St. Stephen's was one 
McGrew. He led the life of a hunter and man-of-all-work, and 
had a cabin in* the pine woods just without the limits of the 
town. He hated th6 Spanish authorities with his whole heart, 
and the compliment was reciprocated. Difficulties were con- 
stantly occurring between the parties, and his Rob Royish ex- 
ploits were frequent and desperate.. But the great event of his 
life was in substance the following : An ox belonging to McGrew 
chanced to wander into the vicinity of the Spanish fort, and , 
being in a good condition, and having the hunter's brand upon 
him, was shot down, and ordered to be dressed for the com- 
mandant's larder. The hunter was of course very angry, and 
scrupled not to express his opinion of the outrage and its per- 
petrators. He was then arrested, imprisoned for a month, and 
sentenced to be publicly whipped at the flagstafif within the fort. 
The unhappy hour arrived, and he was on the spot ; but before 
a lash was given he bolted suddenly out of the clutches of the 
turnkeys, and running to- a wall that was eight feet high, 
scrambled over it, and, though twenty-five guns were fired at 
him he made his escape. A reward of one hundred dollars was 
offered for his body, dead or alive, and four Spanish soldiers 
went upon a hunt for the hunter. They got upon his trail ; 
even caught sight of him ; and his chances for life were slender 
enough. He was without a weapon, while his pursuers were 
well armed ; but, as fortune would have it, the first soldier who 
came up to him was killed with a pine knot, the second with a 
stone, and the third had his shoulder blade broken with a club, 
whereupon the fourth Spaniard suddenly changed his course of 
travel, and poor McGrew was at leisure to meditate upon the 
loss of his favorite ox. 

I come now to speak of the man whom I have designated as 
the Patriarch of St. Stephen's. Of just such a man was Shaks- 
peare thinking when he wrote : 



180 THE TOMBIGBEE AND BLAOE WABRIOR RIVERS. 

** His silver hairg 
Will purchase him a good opinion, 
And buy men's voices to commend his deeds/' 

James Magoffin is a man as modest as he is venerable, 
but I trust that he will not censure me for printing his name. 
Officially speaking, he is the register of the land office here, 
and as the St. Stephen's office is the oldest in the Southern 
States, so is Mr. Magoffin the oldest land office register. 
To add that he knows every thing aboul the landed interests 
of the South would be superfluous. He was born in Philadel- 
phia and commercially educated in that city. When nine- 
teen years old he was thought to be consumptive, and having 
been told that the only chance to prolong life would be to 
emigrate to Alabama, where the piney woods, an abundance of 
milk, and riding might do him good, he took the advice, and, 
though an old man, he is still in the enjoyment of good health* 
He came to the South about fifty years ago, and from the start 
he was taken in hand by the authorities of the general govern- 
ment. His first appointment after the country became ours 
was that of post-master, his second that of collector of the cus- 
toms, and his third that of issuing commissary and sutler ; and 
as he was a good penman and a map-maker, when the land 
office was established at St. Stephen's in 1809, he was invited 
to attend to that business, and for five years thereafter he was 
not away from his office, at one time, more than thirty minutes. 
He was a member of the Convention that formed the Constita- 
tion of Alabama, and has also done something in the way of 
mercantile pursuits and land speculation, and many a city lot 
in St. Stephen's that may now be bought for a dollar or two 
has he sold for a thousand in other days. He has been con- 
nected with the land office of St. Stephen's ever since its es- 
tablishment, and the innumerable and massive books that he 
has filled with his penmanship would hardly display their neat 
and business-like pages, I ween, without his presence. He was 
never married, and has been as constant at his post as the old 
Dutch clock which clicks upon the mantel-piece of his log-house, 
office and home. He came to the South with letters from Gen. 
Jackson, who was his personal friend ; and among his other in- 



\ 



THE TOHBiaBBR AND BLAOK WABRIOB BIVBBS. 181 

timate friends were such men as ithe late William R. King. 
He was the first man in the South who paid particular atten* 
4ion to the coltare of grapes, and as long ago as 1809 he made 
his hundred gallons of wine. For thirty years has he been a 
eorrespondent of Mr. Longworth, of Cincinnati, who is now 
making a fortune by a business that was suggested to him by 
Mr. Magoffin. Horticulture is evidently Mr. Magoffin's hobby 
and while he boasts of the fact that he cultivates forty varieties 
of grape and annually makes some four hundred gallons of 
wine, which he distributes among his friends and neighbors 
with a most liberal hand, he is at the same time constantly trying 
experiments and making discoveries in regard to the culture of 
oom and other valuable grains. His life has been a useful one 
and it cannot be said of him that he knows not how to be old. 
With propriety may we turn from Shakspeare to Armstrong, 
and say of him — 

** Though old, he still retains 
His manly sense and energy of mind. 
Virtuous and wise he is, but not severe ; 
His easy presence checks no decent joy. 
Him even the dissolute admire ; for he 
A graceful looseness when he will puts on, 
And, laughing, can instruct.'' 

But I have obtained from Mr. Magoffin a variety of local 
facts and incidents which cannot but make an interesting para- 
graph or two ; and these shall now be the burden of my song. 

The first has reference to an interview that Mr. Magoffin 
had with Tecumseh, the celebrated Shawnee warrior, on the 
banks of the Alabama. The former had been arrested while 
journeying through the Creek Nation with Government de- 
spatches, and it was while domiciliated with his kind protector 
-—who was a medal-chief, lived in a log cabin, and worked 
twenty negroes — that Tecumseh made his appearance on a 
friendly visit. As the oft-repeated question of ^^ Who killed 
Tecumseh ?" has never been answered, it may be gratifying to 
behold a physical and mental portrait of the warrior, sketched 
by a man of Mr. Magoffin's intelligence. He was five feet ten 



182 THE TOMBIGBBE AND BLACK WARBIOB BIVER8. 

inches high, brawny and 8t9Ut, had a Roman nose, and an eye 
that could not be looked into without emotion. He was at* 
tended by a suite of thirteen warriors, and in everything that 
he did conducted himself like a prince and a gentleman. Mr. 
Magoffin having asked and obtained permission to shake his 
handy the Prophet remarked ^^ that he was glad to see a white 
man from the father city, and that General Washington was a 
great warrior." He inquired as to the stature of Washington, 
and on being told "just about your height," he drew himself 
up and took a complacent glance at his own person. After 
asking many questions about the " big men" at Washington, 
he was invited to take something to eat ; and, while daintily 
enjoying himself — for he was much of an epicure — he turned 
to Mr. Magoffin and said : " Tour people are fond of good 
living, but they don't live right. I noticed in Missouri that 
they eat too much hog ; that is not good. If they would eat 
more deer meat they would run faster. If they eat so much 
hog they will turn to hog." On being questioned about the 
Indian dish of suckatash^ he remarked " that he knew all about 
it, that it came from the North, and that the western Indians 
got it from King Philip." 

And here is an anecdote with a twofold bearing. When 
Lieut. Col. Richard Sparks was in command of Fort Stodart, 
in 1808, Mr. Magoffin was his clerk, and executed all his wri- 
ting. The proclamation with which Sparks fell into the move- 
ment of Reuben Eemper to invade Florida was written by the 
aforesaid clerk, and the press on which it was printed was the 
first that ever appeared in what is now the State of Alabama, 
and that press was brought to Fort Stodart from Knoxville, 
Tennessee, by a man named Samuel Miller. Sparks was un- 
doubtedly quite willing to act as he did without any urging, 
but he was unfortunately supported by the then Governor of 
Louisiana, Mr. Claiborne ; and just before his arrest, and in 
time for the court-martial, he cunningly obtained a letter from 
Governor Claiborne sanctioning his course in the most explicit 
manner. This letter was kept secret until the trial was nearly 
ended, when Sparks, who had played many a game of cards 



THB TOMBIGBEB AKD BLACK WARRIOR RIVERS. 183 

with the presiding officer, but with whom he had quarreled, 
stepped up to that gentleman, and, handing him the Claiborne 
letter, very coolly remarked as follows : ^' I have all my life 
been in the habit of fighting savages ; I have never been taken 
by ambush or surprise ; and now, General, I will thank you to 
play to that card." Sparks was acquitted and Claiborne's in- 
tegrity was seriously questioned ; but I believe his conduct was 
subsequently satisfactorily explained. 

Another local incident obtained from Mr. Magoffin was about 
Hal's Lake, a stagnant sheet of water lying between the Tom- 
bigbee and Alabama rivers, a short distance above their junc- 
tion. The lake obtained its name from a negro who, about 
thirty years ago, ran away from his master, and in an exten- 
sive cane-brake swamp bordering the lake built himself a cabin, 
and subsequently established a kind of colony of runaway 
slaves. The spot was far more desolate than Cowper*s '^ lodge 
in some wilderness," and almost the only creatures that ever 
penetrated into it, besides the darkies, were black bears and 
alligators. The business which sjipported that interesting clan 
was that of stealing, which they carried on principally in Mo- 
bile, which they visited furtively In their canoes, travelling at 
night and remaining in ambush by day. In process of time 
they hatched a foolish conspiracy to murder the people of 
Mobile, but a repentant fellow exposed the plot, whereupon 
the officers of justice ferreted out the outlaws ; a desperate 
fight took place, many persons on both sides were killed, and 
so HaUs Lake returned to its former state of desolation. The 
stolen property which was discovered here was of considerable 
value, and among the prisoners taken were black children who 
had never seen a white man. 

And still another, but more amusing incident touching a 
citizen of this region, happened in this wise. He was an old 
and wealthy, but inexperienced planter. Happening to be in 
Mobile on one occasion, he refleatedly expressed a desire to 
witness a fire, but* as often as the bells rung, was disappointed. 
On one occasion, however, he was gratified, for the hotel where 
he lodged chanced to take fire at midnight. The excitement 



184 THE TOMBIGBBB AND BLACK WARRIOR RIVERS. 

was of course great, but the consternation of the planter knew 
no bounds. In his fright he hurried from his room, and down 

into the street with breeches and coat in one hand and trunk 

• 

in the other, shouting with might and main '' Run, Tom, Dick, 
and Harry, run quick and help, for the d — d plantation is on 
fire!** — and meeting one of his most intimate friends in the 
street, he rushed up to him and exclaimed : ^^ Stranger, help 
me to take my trunk to the boat; only help me, sir, I want 
to go home." This man has since sent his son to transact his 
business in Mobile. 

The model plantation to which I have alluded is by no means 
what Southerners call an extensive one, but the productiveness . 
and appendages thereof are precisely similar in character to 
those of all well-conducted plantations in Florida, Georgia, 
Alabama, and Mississippi. Exclusive of a huge domain of pine 
lands, the estate contains eight hundred acres, and lies in a 
bend of the Tombigbee river. Its negro force consists of one 
hundred men and women, with some fifty horses and mules, 
and its annual yield is about two hundred and fifty bales 
of cotton and six thousand bushels of com, or perhaps fifteen 
thousand dollars. The very comfortable house of the overseer 
occupies the summit of a blufi* which commands a view of the 
whole farm, a long reach of the river, both up and down, while 
the country on the opposite side of the river seemir to be one 
vast cypress swamp, without a human habitation ; while in the 
immediate vicinity of the house are the cabins, some twenty-five 
in number, occupied by the slaves, with the barns, cotton gin 
and press, and usually a pile beside them of cotton seeds, which 
when rotted, make a profitable manure. The residence of the 
planter himself — L. J. Wilson, Esq. — ^is pleasantly situated 
about two miles from the river, in a fragrant pine forest, and is 
in every particular an elegant establishment. 

At the present time the crops of the plantation have been 
gathered, and are either sold or prepared for market, so that 
ploughing is now the chief employment of all hands, both men 
and women. The toils of the day begin at a stated hour, an 
hour and a half or two hours assigned to dinner, and the plough 



THS TOMBiaBEB AND BLACK WARRIOB BIVEBS. 185 

left in the furrow, or the "shoyel and the hoe" thrown aside, 
long before the factory girls of Lowell have thought of leaving 
their looms. As many eb four or six times in the day do the 
women who have young children leave the field where they may 
be working and march up in a line to nurse their children. 
When the negroes i^re at work in one body in a single field, as 
is usually the case, they present an interesting picture* Dressed 
as they commonly are in loosely made clothes, as dark as the 
soil they till, but frequently relfeved by bits of red in the way 
of a cravat or turban, they are always picturesque ; and the 
jibes and jokes, the loud laughter, and witty remarks which are 
constantly heard, prove that the slaves have quite as happy a 
time as the morose looking massa whose business it is to journey 
on horseback from one end of the plantation to the other, per- 
petually. When a young rascal has been caught stealing or 
will not do his duty, he is brought up to receive a strapping^ 
and that literally; for the much-talked-of ^^laah'* is nothing 
but a piece of leather, eighteen inches long and two and a half 
wide, which is attached to a wooden handle, and never could 
draw blood. But not more than one in ten of the slaves on 
this plantation were ever touched even by this harmless strap. 
As to the amount of labor which the faithful servants perform, 
three of their days would about balance one day of a Yankee 
yeoman ; and it is a singular fact that, while the greatest amount 
of labor is occasionally performed by the women, they have a 
custom of boasting of their superior dexterity, industry, and 
strength. When the women become too old to do field-work, 
they are employed as nurses .or cooks, and treated with kind- 
ness. Rude are the cabins which they all inhabit ; but, when 
the warmth of the climate is considered, their homes, where 
every husband is master, are as comfortable as need be. Among 
the negroes of the plantation, every individual man, woman, 
and child is weekly supplied with the following articles : four 
pounds of bacon, one peck of com meal, one pint of molasses, 
three salted fish, a supply of fresh meat when killed, together 
with all the vegetables they may desire ; and this in addition to 
what oach man is permitted to raise on his own account in the 
YOL. n. — N 



186 THE TOMBIQBEE AND BLACK WARRIOB BIVER6. 

way of* pigs, poultry, and grain. And it should be borne in 
mind, that at least one-quarter of the above rations are assigned 
to the youngest children. The rules of the plantation are strict, 
as they should be; and when obeyed there is no trouble. On 
the score of religion, the negroes are not without its privileges, 
for there are negro preachers in abundance, and they hare 
regular Sabbath services. The people on an isolated plantation 
are necessarily removed from the '^stated preaching" of culti- 
vated men; and here, on the^ Southern plantations, I have 
thought, was a most appropriate sphere for the Northern 
missionary enterprise. Let the people of the North send to 
this region the Bible, with pious missionaries, both of which 
would be always gladly welcomed, and keep the fanatics and 
demagogues at home, and much good might be done. The 
overseer of a plantation is of course the great man upon it, and 
80 accustomed to absolute rule that he is very apt to conduct 
himself before strangers in an authoritative manner; and in 
speaking of every thing on the farm he uses to excess the per- 
sonal pronoun of the ^' first person singular." The house that 
he occupies is quite comfortable, and in the case before us is 
supplied with a few books, a medicine chest, and a stock of guns, 
with which he amuses himself during the game season. 

And by the way. Just behind the overseer's house alluded 
to, and between two trees, is the grave of a former proprietor 
of this plantation, and of which the following curious circum- 
stance is related. Shortly before his death the planter had 
sold a horse, to a neighbor residing eight miles distant. One 
day this horse made his appearance on the old plantation, poor 
and in a sickly condition, and on the following morning was 
found dead, lying across the grave of his master. 

Let us now direct our steps to the present planter's residence. 
It is a large, cottage-shaped building, situated in the centre of 
a handsome lawn, besprinkled with fruit trees and clusters of 
flowers, flanked by comfortable negro-quarters and spacious 
stables, and surrounded with the tall columns of the pine forest. 
The spirit of genuine hospitality reigns supreme, and every- 
thing that a reasonable guest can desire is at his command. 



THB T0MBIQ6EB AKD BLACK WARRIOR RIVERS. 187 

If refined politeness and high-toned conversation are expected, 
they will be enjoyed to perfection ; if the guest have a weak- 
ness for the pleasures of the palate, here he will find game in 
abundance, capitally cooked, wines of the most famous vintages, 
and, far above all, the famous gumbo, which, like the chowder 
of Yankee land and the pea-soup of Canada, is made of a score 
of ingredients ; if books are his hobby, here is a well-selected 
library ; if music, none can strike the keys of the piano with 
more grace than the accomplished hostess ; if sporting is the 
order of the day, he has but to mount a horse, call for the darkey 
Nimrod and his dogs, and go forth either to kill a deer, a wild- 
cat, a wolf, an opossum, a coon, or perhaps a bear, merely by 
way of getting up an appetite for dinner ; if blooded horses are 
to his taste, he will find the stables well supplied ; if omithoT 
logy is his passion, here he may study the habits of the wild 
turkey, (which are killed by the hundred,) of the partridge and 
quail, of many varieties of the duck tribe, of the vulture and 
the crow, of the robin, (which becomes intoxicated by feeding 
on the buds of the China tree,) of the tropical paraquette, with 
its bright-green plumage, of the glorious mocking-bird, and of 
the whippoorwill, whose song to the superstitious negro, por- 
tends, in times of sickness, a death on the plantation. If the 
guest have a fondness for creatures of the reptile genus, the 
neighboring lakes will supply him with any number of huge 
alligators, and the' swamps with rattle-snakes, the chicken, the 
ribbon, and the moccasin snakes ; if a student of geology, the 
limestone bluff of St. Stephen's will exhibit to him a curious 
cave, with its floor covered with sea-shells, while other localities 
will supply him with petrified sharks' teeth and deer horns, and 
whole terrapins transformed into solid stone. And he who 
may have a relish for curious incidents will be told that upon 
this very plantation did a Dutchman, many years ago, sell 
himself into slavery to pay for his passage across the Atlantic, 
and is now one of the wealthiest planters in Alabama ; and 
also that across a neighboring wilderness, one hundred miles 
in width, did a white woman, who had been deserted by her 
husband and was pursued by Indians, once travel on a pony 



188 



THE TOMBIOBEE AND BLACK WARRIOB BITERS. 



with no companion but her dead infant, and that Che same 
person was subsequently a leader in fashionable life in Wash- 
ington. And now do I take my leave of St. Stephen's and the 
Tombigbee river, and that, too, with almost as much reluctance 
as was manifested by Mr. Wilson's body servant, a fine boy, 
who, when I pretended to be negotiating his purchase, wept as 
if his heart would break. 



\ 



A JAUNT IN^O MISSISSIPPI. 



I UKB Mobile much. It has a substantial as well as a dash* 
ing appearance, and the business habits and manners of the 
people remind me of old Gotham. Its '^ Battle" House would be 
the boast of any city, and, like most of the better hotels in the 
South, is kept by a Yankee. Mobile is an opulent place, and 
has been made so almost exclusively by the cotton interest. 
It is an extrayagant, joyous, and free and easy town ; so that 
sporting characters, thorough bred and fast horses, and lovely 
women are as ^'familiar as household words." Warm-hearted, 
it seems to me, are all its citizens ; polite to strangers, and 
affectionate among themselves. Its position is convenient and 
pleasant, and, excepting when visited by the yellow fever, is 
considered healthy. On a bluff or high land in the vicinity of 
the city, and connected with it by a capital shell-road, the 
wealthy inhabitants have built themselves country residences, 
some of which are elegant, while all of them command a fine 
view of the city and bay of Mobile. With the market of this 
city I have been particularly pleased, and it is deservedly the 
centre of attraction to all strangers. The building itself is 
common-place, but as a depot for all the good things of this 
most bountiful land, and as a congregating-place for queer 
characters, it is worthy of a frequent visit. The butchers and 
hucksters are usually of French or Spanish extraction, and 
when you add to these, their wives and daughters, negroes of 
every age and shade of color, and an occasional group of Choc- 
taw Indians, you have a sufficient variety. Fruit of every kind 
peculiar to the tropics, is found here in the greatest profusion ; 



190 A JAXTNT INTO MISSISSIPPI. 

SO also is it with game, deer, wild turkeys, ducks, and birds of 
the partridge tribe being the staples in this line ; and as to 
fish, the following are what I noted during a single walk 
through the market, viz., salt-water trout, rockfish or striped 
bass, black bass, bream, sunfish, pike, redfish or red horse, 
sheepshead, salt-water mullet, buffalo or drum, flounder and 
flatfish, the common sucker, and catfish of every imaginable 
size. The number of Indians who spend much of their time in 
Mobile, but who live in the neighboring pine woods, is esti- 
mated at one thousand. The men, some of whom are fine- 
looking, do a little hunting for the market, but their principal 
business is to deck themselves in bright colors and hang about 
the market or the hotels, very much after the manner of their 
brother snobs in our Northern cities, who loiter about the 
church doors on Sunday ; but the Indian women are indus- 
trious, and manage to keep themselves quite comfortable by 
selling bundles of fat-pine for lighting fires, and beautiful willow 
baskets. 

In my letter from St. Augustine I gave a slight account of a 
Minorcan masquerade, but, as the Mobilians evidently take the 
lead in this business, I must devote a paragraph to their fan- 
tastic doings. As these take place annually on the first of 
January, I did not see any of them, but from an intelligent 
eye-witness I have obtained the following particulars : It appears 
that there are here two regularly organized societies, which 
glory in the names of " CoivhellionSy** and " Strikers." They 
have each from sixty to a hundred members, who are of high 
respectability and wealthy. Their ostensible purpose is anna- 
ally to dismiss the old year and welcome the new one, which 
they do by parading the streets at night, by the light of torches 
and colored lanterns, decked out in fantastic dresses and sing- 
ing uncouth songs. This part of the programme is followed by 
a dance at the theatre, where a company of ladies have assem- 
bled to meet them, and the winding up is a sumptuous enter- 
tainment. Often the processions are very grotesque, and set 
the whole town a laughing ; but of late years their customs 
seem to have Veen to personify the more noted characters of 



A JAUNT IKTO MIBSIS8IPPI. 191 

Shakspeare and Sir Walter Scott or the ancient mythologies, 
audd to reproduce the games of old England. With the origin 
of this custom I am not acquainted, but it is evidently allied to 
the more sedate and sensible custom ^rhich formerly prevailed 
among the Dutch inhabitants of Manhattan, vrhen the last night 
of the year was wholly devoted by them to visiting from house 
to house and drinking hot toddies of Holland gin. 

Fr(Hn Mobile I made a desperate journey into the interior of 
the State of Mississippi ; and as I saw and heard a 'number of 
things during the jaunt, it is meet that I should make them the 
theme of a few paragraphs. My ostensible object was to visit 
the town of Augusta, which is eighty miles from Mobile, and I 
accomplished the trip with my companion in five days, paying 
for the services of a man and his "one-horse concern" the 
moderate price of fifty dollars. The road for the most part lay 
through a monotonous pine country, and, as the weather turned 
out to be inclement and the accommodations we met with very 
bad, we had any thing but a " good time." We went by one 
road and returned by another. We came in contact, however, 
with a few men, women, and things that were excessively char* 
acteristic of the wilderness, and for that reason they ought to 
be chronicled. 

Our first night was spent in a cabin on Dog river. Our 
supper consisted of sweet potatoes, molasses, bacon, and diluted 
coffee ; and our bed-room was ventilated on an entirely new 
principle ; that is to say, by wide cracks in the floor, broad 
spaces between the logs that composed the walls, huge openings 
in the roof, and a window with a shutter that could not be 
closed. Our host was a man who, some twenty-five years ago, 
bad left the back settlementa of Mississippi for the purpose of 
finding a home in Alabama, but having reached Dog river du- 
ing a freshet, he was compelled to encamp with his family for a 
few days. During this halt it struck him that he would erect 
a bridge over the river for the benefit of pilgrims like himself 
and also build himself a cabin and turn innkeeper. Soth of 
these important things did he accomplish ; and, as he had a son 
who was fond of hunting, and as the few people who travelled 



192 A JAUNT INTO MISSIS^PPI. 

through the country were compelled to tarry with him at least 
a night, he has thus managed to obtain a living. In politics he 
was a Jackson man, because he had once fought the Indians 
under the old General ; and in the way of religion he had been 
a Methodist and a Baptist, but left both of these denominations 
in disgust, as he said, but upon compulsion, as I afterwards 
learnt. He now avowed himself an *^ Independent Religionist." 
The only fruit of his religious opinions which I witnessed were 
that between supper and bed time he drank nearly a whole 
decanter of bad whiskey, and then insisted upon gathering 
his family and reading a prayer. His wife seemed a very 
worthy woman, and he had a daughter whose face struck 
me as beautiful, and verily seemed ^^ like sunshine in a shady 
place." 

Our second night was spent in another cabin in the pine 
woods, belonging to an industrious and obliging, man. His 
estate numbered a thousand acres, but his main support was 
derived from the business of cutting spar timber, which he 
hauled to the Pascagoula, floated to the mouth of that stream, 
and sold to an agent of the French Government. Our host's 
family consisted of a wife and eighteen children, three of whom 
were girls, whose average weight we estimated at two hundred 
pounds, who could, and to our sorrow did, all play on the violin 
and accordeon, and who were so fond of dancing that whenever 
two or three spar-cutters happened along to join them they would 
^Mance all night till broad day-light" It was evident that 
this*'family was well enough off to live in comfort, but, true to 
habits which prevail ^mong a large class in the South, they did 
not seem to know the sensation of real comfort. Negroes of 
all ages were abundant in and about the dwelling, whose mar- 
ket value would not have been less than ten thousand dollars ; 
and yet, with two or three exceptions, wooden benches were 
used in the place of chairs, one iron spoon answered for the 
whole family, and the mother added the sugar or ''short sweet- 
ning" to the coffee with her fingers, and tasted each cup before 
sending it round to ascertain if it was right. Such things as 
andirons, tongs, and wash-basins were considered useless ; and 



A JAUNT INTO 1US8ISSIPPI. 193 

the bedstead upon which we slept was a mere board, yet the 
sheets were charmingly fringed with cotton lace, and in their 
freshness did not remind me of those once alluded to by Isaak 
"Walton. All the family, ezceptmg the parents and two sons, 
were barefooted, and yet the girls sported large finger rings in 
abimdance, and wore basque dresses of calico« Only two of the 
eighteen children had ever travelled from home as far as Mobile, 
and the first crop knew not how to read ; the second were more 
fortunate, for a school had lately been established in a settle- 
ment about five miles distant, which consisted of fifteen scholars, 
seven of whom were the children of oar host. On the night in 
question the ^^ schoolmaster was abroad," for he had come on a 
visit to the family of our host ; and when he started for his 
lodgings, which were three miles distant, he went alone through 
the pathless woods, carrying a gui^ in one hand and a pine 
torch in the other. 

Oa questioning our worthy host about the game in his region, 
be gave me some interesting particulars. Deer, he said, were 
very abundant, but were hunted chiefly by torchlight. He knew 
a small party who in a single week had killed one hundred ; and, 
though he did not seem to think this mode of hunting cruel, he 
was very severe upon the hunters, because they sometimes killed 
his cattle instead of the game, by mistaking the shining eyes 
(the mark shot at,) of the one for the other. He stated that 
the deer always ranged through the pine woods at night for the 
purpose of feeding, remaining hidden in the swamps during the 
day ; that a good hunter could always tell, by the noise which 
the deer made in leaping, after being shot, whether he was mor- 
tally wounded or not ; and that many of them were also killed 
by still hunting and driving, but that fire hunting was the most 
profitable. In speaking of the habits of the deer, he told me 
that they were much more tame in summer than in the winter, 
and that he had often killed them wandering about his cleared 
fields in company with bis cattle ; that he has known them to 
feed upon green com and upon various kinds of soft-shelled 
Bots, as well as tender buds and wild grass ; that he had wit- 
nessed some terrible fights between the bucks, and that the 



194 A JAUNT INTO MISSISSIPPI. 

fawns when kindly treated are easily tamed, but very mis- 
chievous. 

Another denizen of the wilderness that my Mississippi friend 
has killed in great numbers is the wild turkey. He thinks them 
exceedingly cunning, but not sufSciently so to be aware of the 
danger lurking in the baits of corn that are laid for them, and 
which, with the gun or the trap, secure their destruction by 
scores. Thej are also deceived by the call which the hunters 
make by means of a whistle formed out of the wing bone of 
the same fowl. They spend their days in the enjoyment of the 
happiest freedom, and on returning to their roosts at night 
never fail to have at least one sentinel on duty. In every 
sphere of their brief lives, however, are they an interesting 
race, but in no condition are they more interesting to the lover 
of nature than when a flock of them are making an onslaught 
upon a decayed stump in whose heart are imbedded a colony of 
grubs or crickets. The average weight of the female turkeys 
in Mississippi is estimated at twelve pounds, and that of the 
male at twenty pounds. The deer and turkeys are the two 
most prc^table kinds of game which are hunted on the upper 
waters of the Pascagoula ; but to those who fancy them — and 
who does not? — the sport of quail shooting is inexhaustible. 
Those who enjoy the killing of ugly creatures can here amuse 
themselves by hunting wildcats, and those who have the good 
sense to appreciate a roasted opossum can here luxuriate on 
them to perfection. 

The third night of our pilgrimage was spent at Augusta, 
which I must not attempt to describe, except as one of the 
worst specimens of a Mississippi village. We reached the 
place in a cold rain, found the first three houses that we came 
to deserted ; that three grog shops usurped the business of a 
public house, and that shelter from the storm could only be ob- 
tained in one bouse, into which we begged our way, and the 
owner of which, excepting the ofScers of the land and post of«- 
fice, appeared to be the only gentleman in the place. But even 
this man was a probationer, for the business of sparring had 
brought him there and the scarcity of timber was about to drive 



A JAUNT INTO MISSISSIPPI. 195 

liim away. Thougli living in a log-cabin, he and his truly ac- 
complished wife bad gathered around them the luxuries of good 
heds, a cleanly and well-furnished table, and a piano. The 
latter article had been not only a source of intellectual grati- 
fication to the owners thereof, but of great wonderment to the 
denizens of the surrounding pine woods. One man, when he 
first saw it, thought it an ironing table ; another took the pedals 
for pistols, and another mistook it for a fancy chest for keeping 
nice clothes ; and whenever it was played upon, the villagers 
congregated around the house to hear the music, and on more 
than one occasion have the simple but kind-hearted people in- 
sisted upon giving the lady musician half a dollar for the treat 
they had enjoyed. Sweet indeed was the tone of this instru- 
ment, and the performances as well as voice of our hostess were 
admirable, but they had not the power to keep us in the village 
longer than a single night, as we started for home after an 
early breakfast. 

Our fourth night was spent under the roof of a planter who 
is reputed to be worth a hundred thousand dollars in negroes, 
mills and cash. BLis residence was a log-cabin, and one of the 
worst of its kind, and its furniture in keeping with it. As he 
was a postmaster and had received a surplus of ^' Gleason's 
Pictorial" for distribution, he had faithfully distributed them, 
wlih the addition of a little paste, on the walls of his cabin by 
way of ornament. Two iron spoons here figured at the table, 
and our temporary wash-basin was in reality a pudding bowl. 
Little negroes and big were everywhere to be seen, staring 
wildly at our every movement and pushing themselves into ex- 
actly the most disagreeable places. The number of guns that 
I counted hung up along the rafters or stacked up in the only 
two rooms of the house were thirteen. Pigs, dogs, mules, and 
geese were also very numerous in the large yard where stood 
the negro cabins, but in the small room where we attempted to 
sleep there was a regular mass meeting of domestic insects. 
After doing all they could to annoy us, they congregated on 
the large hearthstone^ where we kept up a blazing fire, and it 
required no great exertion of the fancy to see them running 



196 A JAUNT INTO MISSISSIPPI. 

races and performing a variety of other gymnastic feats. On 
picking up my hat in the morning, into which I had placed my 
watch and other articles for safe keeping, I found it inhabited 
by a colony of the "same sort." 

On continuing our journey, and just 'before reaching the 
Pascagoula, we came to a cluster of neat log-cabins, and were 
told that here was established a public school, with ninety 
scholars and two or three teachers, who receive each a salary 
of six hundred dollars and their board. Having once before 
crossed the Pascagoula in a scow, we now recrossed it in the 
same manner, the boat being managed by a half-witted negro, 
and we had a narrow escape from drowning. The scenery of 
the river was at this point most uninteresting, but our road soon 
took us across an extensive and very picturesque swamp. The 
trees here were many of them immense, and their trunks were 
often completely enveloped in deep green mosses and air plants, 
while from their limbs the gray moss hung in folds, reaching 
frequently to the ground, and the vines in their variety and 
profusion were truly wonderful ; and among the flowers that 
we noticed in bloom were the daisy, the arbutus, the woodbine, 
and yellow jasmine. We saw no large gameu in this grand 
swamp, but we could readily believe what we were told, that it 
abounded in bears, wolves, and panthers ; and lion-hearted 
must be the man who can hunt them in such a place, bivouack- 
ing, night after night, in the deep gloom formed by the cypress 
and cotton-wood trees. 

Our fifth and last night was spent upon the eastern bank of 
the Dog river, which we recrossed at sunset, and which is Jiere 
a very picturesque stream, with black water, white and yellow 
sandbanks, and skirted with rich vegetation. The cabin and 
supplies for the table were much poorer than any we had before 
met with. We slept upon some boards in a windowless and 
almost doorless room, and the only incident worth recording 
was that at dead of night we were suddenly awakened by the 
loud and dreadful howling of a dog, and, on ascertaining his 
whereabouts, we found him directly under our rude bed, which 
was his accustomed lair. We had seen Dog river, and heard 



A JAUNT INTO MISSISSIPPI. 197 

the voice of one of its dogs, and long before the dawn we were 
on our way to Mobile, where we arrived, thankful and happy, 
in time to enjoy a good dinner with our host of the Battle 
House. 

My last evening in Mobile, as fortune would have it, was 
spent with Ole Bull. I had met him before at Mr. Webster's 
table in Washington, and, as I have always been an enthusi- 
astic admirer of him, the few hours that I passed in his company- 
will be long remembered by me with peculiar pleasure. For 
mentioning the following particulars, gathered from his conver- 
sation, I hope he will forgive me. He was bom in Bergen, a 
Korwegian town, and is about forty-five years old. He is tall 
and slender in person; his countenance is pale but full of 
thought, and, though wearing a melancholy cast in repose, there 
is something in his smile truly bewitching. He was educated 
in his charming art by Paginini, and he was first heard and 
fostered within the walls of Hamburgh. He said he had seen 
a great deal of the United States, and admired our people and 
Government, but he spoke of his misfortunes attending his 
various colonization schemes in a desponding tone ; he had been 
so often deceived he could hardly trust any man in these latter 
days. He expressed his partiality for heart-music, and con- 
tempt for fashionable music ; Mozart and Bosini seemed to be 
his favorites. He had just been delighting the people of Mobile 
with a concert, and the instrument that he used was one that 
he had made with hia own hmds in four dat/s^ immediately 
after his jewelled violin had been unjustly and cruelly taken 
from him in New York. He talked lovingly about the National 
Theatre of Norway, which it had been his privilege to establish. 
He delighted me with a long description of a valley in Norway 
which had been recently discovered. It was so hidden among 
rugged rocky mountains, that travellers could only reach it by 
means of rope ladders, and the inhabitants were very large, 
very kind, and very simple. He told me that when in summer 
they went from the valley to tend their flocks upon the moun- 
tains, they left their cabins unlocked, and supplied with food 
for all strangers, who were free to help themselves. He thought 



198 A JAUNT INTO MISSISSIPPI. 

there was something wonderfully grand about the scenery of 
Norway. How often had he looked upon it and sobbed with 
overpowering feelings ! Indeed, he always did so when he 
visited his native land. But he was now an exile and a wan- 
derer, he had no home, and there were none to care for him. 
His devotion to his people seemed to be a chief element of his 
character, and a more unselfish and affectionate man, it seems 
to me, I never knew. That his musical powers are wonderful 
is the verdict of the world. 



NEW ORLEANS. 



I CAMB from Mobile to New Orleans on a New York steamer, 
which was one of a trio belonging to James L. Day, Esq., of 
Connecticut, and forming what I consider the most comfortable 
and best managed line in the United States. The waters of 
Mobile Bay were muddy, and its low and uninteresting shores 
were completely covered with drift-wood, far as the eye could 
reach. At the extensive bar, where the muddy waters beeame 
merged into the pure green of the Gulf of Mexico, a fleet of 
ships was moored ; and I was surprised to learn that they sel- 
dom or never actually visited the city, from which they obtain 
their cargoes of cotton. Among our mor^ agreeable fellow 
travellers, was a large flock of gulls ; they followed in our wake 
until sunset, and I remember noticing with interest the circum- 
stance, when feeding them with biscuits, that the older birds not 
unfrequently picked up a bit of the bread, and flying aside, 
dropped it upon the water again, for the benefit of a young 
bird, which was supposed to be its ofispring. What little we 
saw of the main land, proved the whole coast of Mississippi to 
be flat and swampy, the long-leaved pine and live-oak disputing 
with each other the right of possession, while the magnolia and 
date-palm, the orange and palmetto, are sufficiently abundant 
to deepen your first impressions as to the torridity of the cli- 
mate. We had a distant view of the mouth of the Pascagoula 
river, and from what I had heard of the spot, I regretted my 
inability to visit it, although my recollections of the sources of 
the stream were not particularly agreeable. It is said that this 
river was one of the very first in the State of Mississippi inha- 



200 NEW ORLEANS. 

bited by civilized people, haying been settled by the French 
some twenty years before the founding of New Orleans. On 
its banks are yet to be seen the ruins of these ancient settle- 
ments. The picturesque charms of the Bay into which the 
stream empties, and the salubrity of the climate, have trans- 
formed a number of localities on its shores into watering places 
for the citizens of Mobile and New Orleans. At the eastern 
extremity of this Bay, are the ruins of a fortification, built of 
shell stone, and apparently centuries old, amid which have been 
discovered fragments of a peculiar kind of earthenware, toge- 
ther with some human bones of gigantic size. According to a 
local tradition, this fort was built by a tribe of Indians long 
since extinct, known as the Biloxies, and who, after an unsuc- 
cessful battle with a more powerful tribe, marched into the sea 
and perished as a nation. And at the present day it is asserted, 
strange music may be heard off this coast, on mid-summer eve- 
nings, and those who are not beyond the influence of superati- 
. tion, believe it to be in some way connected with the extinction 
of the Biloxi Indians. Balmy was the air and misty the western 
sky, as we passed out of Pascagoula Bay ; but by the ^^ cold light 
of stars" we glided by a number of beautiful islands, and 
crossed the lonely and uninteresting Lake of Pont Ghartrain, 
when a railway train, running through a marsh, rank with vege- 
tation, and bright with flowers, took us in half an hour into the 
Calcutta of the Union — ^New Orleans. 

And now, after a thousand and one persons have recorded 
their opinions of this city, what can I indite that will be new ? 
Nothing — ^but I can give in addition to a few leading ^^ fixed 
facts," my individual impressions, and here they are — ^First, as 
to its location. Had I not been told that it is one hundred 
miles from the Gulf of Mexico, and had I not seen that it 
occupies a bend in the Mississippi river, I should have imagined 
it located nowhere^ since the surrounding country is flat, partly 
under water and desolate in the extreme. Its foundation stones 
are from two to five feet lower than the surface of the neigh- 
boring river at high water, and were it not for the extensive 
embankment which protects it, it could not exist in safety a 




NBW OBLBANB. 201 

single hour. As the market and exporting depot for the 
prodnets of the finest valley in the world, and of three climates, 
its commercial poeition is all important, and each succeeding 
jear, it seems to me, can only increase its business and its 
irealth. 

In its general aspect. New Orleans reminds me of Quebec and 
Montreal, and this is not strange, since they were all founded 
by the French. The city is divided into three municipalities, 
the first of which is monopolized by the French and Creole 
population, and is ancient, gloomy and picturesque, with tile 
roofs, hanging street lamps, and cozy porticoes ; the second 
municipality is chiefly in the hands of the Yankee race and 
abounds in handsome houses, substantial blockd of stores and 
warehouses, and portions of it are very much like the heart of 
Boston ; and the third division of the town, which is sparsely 
settled, is the home of the Dutch and Irish. It is at all times 
a busy place, but during the winter it is pre-eminently so, and 
two single ideas seem to absorb the minds of the entire popu- 
lation — ^money and pleasure. The commission merchants drive 
their business with the utmost energy, cheered with the hope of 
leisurely spending the coming summer with -their families at 
the north or on their plantations, far beyond the reach of yellow 
fever and cholera ; and the petty tradesnien and mechanics, who 
are generally the permanent residents, do all they can during 
the day .to earn their dollars, which they seldom fail to spend 
before the next morning, in having a good time at the theatre, 
the opera, the circus, the concert, the ten-pin alley, the ball 
room, the billiard saloon, the cafes, or the unnumbered gamb- 
ling and drinking establishments. The leading hotels of the 
city (and the St. Charles and St. Louis are the two best) are 
on the grandest scale, richly furnished, so managed as to gratify 
every whim of appetite or taste, and like every thing else in 
this city, extravagant, to the ruination of all but the longest 
purses. 

Here congregate, from all the southern and many of the 
northern States, beautiful women with small expectations, 
brought hither by hard-working fathers or brothers, and also 

VOL. II.- 



202 NBW ORLEANS. 

another distinct class called '^ planters' daughters/' Trho are 
chiefly distinguished for their white washed faces and immense 
fortunes consisting of negro property and plantations that have 
never been surveyed. They sip their coffee or smoke their 
cigars in bed, breakfast at twelve and dine at six, when parties 
or fancy balls occupy the night, and ancient gentlemen trot out 
their daughters on a venture, with pride and pleasure commen- 
dable. Everything is stylish, but all things human in fashionable 
hotel life stand upon a common level, even as does the city 
itself. The young men about town, the gamblers, the junior 
members and coUecfing clerks of New York, Boston, and 
Philadelphia houses and the adventurers, whom you may have 
seen dashing down the ball room in the waltz or polka, are the 
same who swarm in the mammoth drinking saloons, where 
appetite and alcohol reign supreme. To the eye, human life 
seems only one continued round of pleasure, but to the mind 
which looks below the surface, there are a thousand sources of 
anxiety and anguish, which are sure to have their hour of 
triumph in solitude and silence, or when death is on the breeze. 
But afer all, the Crescent City is not alone in its devotion to 
money and pleasure, and it is time that I should turn to its 
more peculiar characteristics. 

By virtue of its well earned reputation as the " Wet Chrave^^* 
it is of course well supplied with cemeteries. They may be 
found in all directions, and are among the lions of the town. 
Owing to the swampy nature of the earth however, such things 
as graves are nowhere seen, but in their stead we find brick, 
marble and granite tombs, or oven-like vaults, all constructed 
above ground. They are arranged by tiers in blocks or squares, 
with here and there isolated specimens, belonging to the rich 
and proud, and a walk among them in the narrow avenues, can 
never fail to mak^e one appreciate the expression and idea sug- 
gested by " City of the Dead." Even when flooded with the 
blessed sunshine, these cemeteries are sad and desolate, and 
the feelings they inspire are only deepened by the common 
sight of weeping and praying mourners, and by the images and 
incense, the flowers and tapers and unmeaning inscriptions 



KEW ORLBANS. 208 

which meet the eye on every hand. By those who have depos- 
ited the remains of friends and relatives in these grave houses, 
they are of course held sacred and perhaps loved, but to those 
who have hoped, that when they came to die, they might have 
a clod of the valley for a pillow, and a covering of green turf, 
within sound of the country church-going bell, these southern 
cemeteries seem destitute of all comfort and cheerfulness. 
Upon some of them, money has been lavished with princely 
liberality, and yet the most touching tomb that I saw was built 
of brick, very old, all overgrown with moss, and was without 
an epitaph. To be remembered by the mosses of the earth 
alone, is indeed an unhappy fate. 

Let us now return to the world-renowned Levee of New 
Orleans, which is the arena where the huge business of this city 
is transacted. It is at least three miles in length, and broad 
enough to marshal the armies of the world. Its northern 
boundary is a continuous line of stupendous warehouses, while 
it fronts upon the yellow and sullen Mississippi, where, clinging 
in constant fear, are the sail vessels, the steamboats and the 
flai-boats, which have come from any corner of the earth to 
pay their tribute to the chosen seat of commerce. To say 
nothing of the hourly arrivals of ships from the Gulf of Mexico 
and of steamboats from the interior, which congregate here by 
the hundred, only think of the departure in a single day, of 
twenty large ships and twenty-five steamboats. And then 
ascend to the upper-deck of one of these vessels and behold 
the landward scene ! Sugar and cotton, cotton and sugar, flour 
from a hundred rivers, coal, pork and beef from the Ohio, lead 
and lumber from the upper Mississippi, furs from the Missouri, 
and cotton and sugar again from the Arkansas and Red rivers, 
teas from China, fruits from both the Indies, and the manufac- 
tures of every civilized nation, all mingled yi one apparently 
boundless mass of conglomerate wealth. And then the negroes, 
hard working but jovial, in gangs of from five to a hundred, 
guided in their labors by little flags ; the horses and mules and 
drays, clusters of trafficking planters and merchants, the hotel 
carriages and omnibusses, the fruit stands, organ grinders, 



204 NEW OBLEAKS. 

peddlers of old clothes and shells, beggars and loafers — ^behold 
them numbering many thousands, all brought together as upon 
a single canvas, a speaking canvas too, for the ringing of bells, 
the shouting of sailors and boatmen, the songs of the slaves^ 
(the only really happy people to be seen) with the accompany- 
ing hum of active life, conspire to create a roar which cannot 
be easily forgotten. Surely this Levee is one of the wonders 
of this wonderful age ; but it must be seen, and that at high 
noon, to be fully appreciated. 

The Public Squares of New Orleans are also peculiar to this 
dty. They are not numerous nor large nor particularly ele- 
gant, but through every month in the year, they bloom with 
flowers, and on mid-winter afternoons present the gay and lively 
aspect of northern Parks on the first of June. The churches 
too, chiefly Roman Catholic, are interesting ; the best of them, 
in style of architecture, and in their decorations, are antique, 
and remind the untraveled American of what he has read, re- 
specting the Churches of the Old World ; and here as well as 
in the shadow of St. Peter's in Rome, at the proper season, are 
enacted all the ceremonies of the Carnival. With the markets 
of the town I was disappointed. In regard to tropical fruits 
and wild game, they were most abundantly supplied, and aside 
from their Frenchy aspect and odor, they struck me as not un- 
like the leading markets of the Northern States, and by no 
means as entertaining to the stranger, as those of Montreal and 
Quebec. That places of amusement are abundant, has already 
been intimated, and that the theatres are open and extensively 
patronized even on Sunday night, proves the prevailing feel- 
ings, in regard to religion and morality, to be at the lowest 
ebb. But nowhere, in this country, can the opera be enjoyed 
to such perfection as in this city. As to the native population 
of the Crescent City, I must say that I have not fallen in love 
with them. Selfishness, vanity, and a limited knowledge of the 
world, seem to be the distinguishing features of the Creole race, 
and the Quadroons seem to occupy a debateable ground on the 
outskirts of the so-called good society. And finally, the great 
want of this city, is a better reputation ; and since nature has 



NIBW OBLBAHS. 205 

done BO mnch for it, it onlj requires to exchange what it has, 
for what it has not. 

Intellectual culture should take the place of grossest sensual- 
ism, and a scientific system of drainage, the place of a most 
^pable spirit of neglect, in regard to clean streets, 

As an American, it will not do for me to omit a passing allu- 
sion to the Sattle of New Orleans. The famous field of action 
lies about four miles from the St. Charles Hotel ; it is laved by 
the Mississippi river, flanked by a cypress swamp, and is at the 
present time occupied by a planter, who employs himself, all 
according to law, in ^^ raising cane." The Eighth of January, 
1815, was a sad day for Pakenham, and a proud one for Jack- 
eon^ that most remarkable and fortunate man. The British 
force consisted of 12,000 regulars, while that of the Americans 
was composed chiefly of militia boys ; but fortune favored the 
weak ; more than two thousand of the enemy were killed or 
wounded, and less than a hundred of our men were compelled 
to lick the dust. During that battle it was, that the peculiar 
qualities of gun cotton were discovered and proven. And who 
can tell but what the Mississippi river obtained its first idea of 
erevmsing New Orleans with its floods, from the military cre- 
vassa which nearly forty years ago poured the red-hot hail upon 
the invading amy. 

Had I the time I might enliven this letter by narrating a variety 
of local incidents that I have picked up in this city, but one, 
picturing human nature in bright colors, though with a Bahh 
pencil (pardon me sensible reader,) cannot be passed in silence. 
A negro man named Marshall, lately arrived here on his way 
from California to Claiborne parish in this State. He went to 
the far West, it appears, some two years ago with his master, 
who was taken sick last winter, near the Nevada mountains and 

m 

died. Marshall took the utmost care of hi9 master ; was his 
faithful companion, nurse, and friend, and watched by him un- 
ceasingly until he breathed his last. There was nothing left to 
pay the funeral expenses and doctors' bills. Marshall set to 
work aiM labored hard until he managed to scrape together 
enough to settle these debts — amounting to eight hundred dol- 



n 



206 NEW ORLEANS. 

lars. How few white men, near and dear relatives, would have 
done so much ! 

He gathered together his master's clothes and other per- 
sonal effects, and, with about a thousand dollars that he had 
made, stacted home to his master's family, notwithstanding his 
knowledge that he was free in California, and the many induce* 
ments held out to him to remain there. He took the cheapest 
and most dangerous route back, going in a sailing vessel to 
Acapulco, and crossing Mexico, on horseback, from the former 
city to Vera Cruz — a very dangerous route. The American 
Consuls at both places took so much interest in him as to give 
him letters of recommendation, and to request of him to let 
tbfem hear of him. He brought to this city several letters to 
persons living here or in the country, and which contained 
gold dust. 

The faithful negro started home from this city on a Red 
River boat. He had letters from various persons in California 
to gentlemen of this city, recommending him, in the warmest 
terms, to their notice and protection, which were instantly ac- 
corded. An intimate friend of his master, wrote to his family 
stating that the unfortunate gentleman's last request was that 
his faithful servant should be emancipated and provided for by 
them as soon as he reached his home in Louisiana. From this 
incident, we may learn that the " tyranny of slavery" is not 
quite so demoralizing as some people imagine. There are 
light9 as well as %hadow9j even under the system of slavery. 



THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. 



Some seven or eight years have elapsed since I last paid my 
respects, in person and with my pen, to the Lower Mississippi. 
I love it now, no better than I did then, for I am principled 
i^ainst loving any perpetaally muddy and remorseless stream, 
but my respect for the Qreat River is very much enhanced, on 
account of its unbounded usefulness. With the Father of Wa- 
ters I pretend to claim an intimate acquaintance, although I 
cannot, with one of the ^^ oldest inhabitants" of this region as- 
sert, that I have known it ever since it was a small creek. 

In coming from the Crescent City to Cairo, I drove dull 
care away, and took all things leisurely. I tested the quality of 
nearly every kind of steamboats, and went ashore for a day or 
two at every town that I thought worth visiting. And now 
for a description of the Eclipse and Illinois steamers, which 
are at the present time the best representatives of the two better 
classes of boats navigating the river. An English gentleman, 
Dr. Marshall Hall, whom I met on the first-named boat, re- 
marked of it that, in his opinion, it was one of the three won- 
ders of the United States — ^Niagara and the Levee of New 
Orleans being the other two. The Eclipse is a passenger craft, 
was built in Louisville, to which city she runs, and at a cost of 
$160,000. Her tonnage is 1200, her length 869 feet, and she 
draws, according to circumstances, from six to eleven feet. 
She makes two trips in a month, at an expense of $12,000 
each — ^the wood alone costing $5000 — ^has two hundred and 
fifty berths for first^slass passengers, and the fare from city to 
city is thirty-six dollars, distance fourteen hundred miles. 



208 THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. 

t 

She runs at the rate, up stream, of sixteen miles per hour, and 
the accommodations in every department vie with those of the 
very best hotels in the country, for all of which, including the 
choicest luxuries and light wines, there is no additional charge. 
The steamer Illinois belongs to another genus. She is a freight 
and passenger boat, and to the lover of quiet and plain comfort, 
and on account of her greater safety, is altogether preferable. 
She was built in Pittsburg, runs to St. Louis, and cost only 
$60,000. She performs one trip in a month, running about 
eight miles an hour, and the fare through is only twenty dol- 
lars. Her tonnage is rated at 800, while she carries 1500, 
and the character of her cargoes is diversified beyond eoncep* 
tion. On her last trip down she carried of cattle alone nearly 
four hundred head, and when I was in her, she had, by way of 
variety, several foreign bulls and blood horses, any quantity 
of poultry for ^^home consumption," a pet deer or two which 
rambled where they listed; and directly under the boilers, 
which are near the bow of the boat, and all exposed to view, 
were a number of hogs, rooting quite happily in a bed of sand. 
She burns wood to the value of $8000 during each round trip, 
while her total expenses amount to $11,000, — the length of 
her heat being 1200 miles. Her own length is 303 feet, and 
she draws from three and a half to seven feet of water. Her 
table is plain but very neat, and the state-rooms spacious and 
comfortable ; indeed so homelike is everything about her that 
the captain, a polite and substantial man, has the good sense 
to live with his family on board, as if in a dwelling on dry 
land. 

That portion of the Mississippi valley lying between New 
Orleans and Baton Rouge is altogether the sweetest section of 
country in the United States, since it is here that the sugar* 
cane attains its greatest perfection and the largest quantity of 
sugar is made. Both sides of the Great river are lined with 
extensive plantations, and the same may be said of nearly all 
the bayous in western Louisiana, where are located the ven^^ 
able, wealthy, and highly interesting French settlements of 
Attakapas and Opelousas, the last of which has been made 




TBE IiOWBB MXBSieSIPK. 209 

ckssio hj the genius of Longfellcfw in bis ^^ Evangeline/' 
The BHxfaoe of this whole sugar country is perfectly leyel, and 
tbe soil very rich and inexhaustible. The fields of sugar-oane 
which annually spring into rank luxuriance are very beautifuir, 
while in all their borders are to be seen cypress swamps, lakes 
alive with the scarlet ibis and alligator, and live-oak forests that 
eaa be surpassed by no part of the world. Certain portions of 
this region are compared, by their sanguine and happy people, 
to the paradise of the antediluvian world, and truly with a sha^ 
dow of propriety. All the residences that you see are pleasant 
and picturesque, and many of them have a stately bearing ; 
the gardens which 'Surround them, bloom almost perpetually 
with hedges of rose and hawthorn and with groves of the lemon 
and orange, and in their vicinity may always be seen the fac- 
tory-looking sugar houses, with ther towering chimneys, and 
the neat white-washed cabins of the negroes, — ^all free from 
eare and happy as they can wish to be. About all the sugar 
plantations there is a rural charm which never fails to interest 
Ae stranger ; and though the levees which line the banks of the 
Mississippi for more than a hundred miles are indispensable as 
well as curious, the amount of ditching which has to be per« 
fomed on some of the plantations is astonishing. Many of the 
eetates are enormous, and I have heard of one which contained 
» thousand acres of land and had netted for its proprietor, in 
one year, the respectable sum of one hundred and fifty thou- 
sand dollars. But to dilate upon the many interesting par* 
tieulars appertaining to the planting and the gathering of the 
sugar-cane and to the manifold mysteries of manufacturing and 
refining sugar, would occupy more time and space than I can 
now spare ; and are not all these things recorded in the Eney- 
dopedias ? When performed by daylight and in a fine boat, 
the sail up this portion of the Mississippi is exceedingly in- 
teresting. All the men, women, and children whom you see at 
liie various stopping-places appear happy, and about every ^ot 
theare is an air of the picturesque. All through the winter the 
Cherokee rose spoits itself luxuriantly on every plantation, 
and upon green lawns children play with their toys and throw 



/ 



210 THB LOWER MISSISSIPPI. 

the ball ; — ^in continuous fields you see the cattle grazing, and 
droyes of horses kicking qp their heels ; while the negroes, fat^ 
hearty, and red-shirted, enliven every scene, as they drag down 
with their mules, to the shipping-places, the countless hogs- 
heads of sugar and molasses. Of Baton Rouge it can be said, 
that it occupies the summit of the first bluff that you come to, 
in ascending the Mississippi ; that it is a pretty town with bad 
hotels ; that the State House is a handsome and imposing edi- 
fice commanding a very grand view of the Mississippi river 
and valley, and that it will be long remembered with venera- 
tion, for having been the home of Zachary Taylor. 

From Baton Rouge I made an excursion of some fifty miles 
into the interior of the State, eastwardly, and so far as the 
mere journey was concerned, had a pleasant time. It was 
about the middle of March, and spring was bursting forth 
in all the gorgeousness peculiar to this southern clime. The 
accommodations, however, were most abominable, and though 
•there were three hotels in the village where I spent one night, 
I was compelled, on taking my departure, to beg a little decent 
food from a private family. The few sugar plantations that I saw 
were well conducted, and the planters seemed to be thrivmg ; 
but the cotton farms, which occurred chiefly in the pine woods, 
were small and in a neglected condition. The air was every- 
where fragrant with flowers, but upon a large proportion of the 
scanty population was resting the blight of intemperance. At 
one place where I was forced to lodge, the landlord and his sons 
made the latter part of the night hideous, by a bacchanalian 
frolic, the earlier half having been devoted by them, with the 
family, to a ball which was given in the Court-house of the 
town. 

Of the principal towns lying on the Mississippi, between 
Baton Rouge and this place, I have not much to say. Their 
names, as everybody knows, are Natchez, Vicksburg, and Mem- 
phis. They are all flourishing, supported by cotton, and located 
upon picturesque bluffs. Of the first, I remember to have heard 
it asserted that it was the county-seat of the wealthiest country 
in the Union, and that it numbers among its inhabitants one 



• 



t 



THB LOWEB MISSISSIPPI. 211 

planter irho is the owner of four thousand slaves. Of Yicks- 
bnrg it may be said, that it is now.a much more respectable 
place than formerly, and that a railroad leads therefrom to 
Jackson, the capitol of Mississippi, and the most inviting town 
therein. One incident worth mentioning, connected with it, is 
to this effect. A noted planter, who had more money than 
l^rains, took it into his head to give a grand Sunday dinner. 
He invited a hundred people, not one of whom thought proper 
to attend. He was disgusted, and by way of exhibiting his 
spleen, he summoned his slaves to the entertainment, and fed 
them right royally upon the luxuries which had been prepared. 
And his next step was, to command his overseers to give each 
one of his slaves a strapping^ for fear that they might be spoiled 
by the indulgence he had shown them. Of Memphis it may be 
said, that it has recently been honored by the General G.overh- 
ment with the donation of a Navy Yard, and is the only one in 
the country into which it would be impossible for a ship to sail, 
although they might be, and probably will be, sent out of it by 
the hundred. But my love for the olden times, carries me back 
to the city of Natchez. With " Natchez under the hill," (" now 
as then," a miserable spot,) or Natchez anywhere else, I have 
nothing to do ; but I would recall and record what I remember 
of the Natchez tribe of Indians. They were worshippers of the 
Sun, and had a temple in which they kept a perpetual fire, and 
offered human sacrifices. They were friendly to the first French 
settlers of the country, but having been badly treated by them, 
they silently and secretly plotted and accomplished the destruc- 
tion of great numbers of their enemies, the invaders of their 
country. The quaint and romantic Charlevoix was their chief 
historian, and from him we gather the following particulars : 
They lived, in 1720, in huts built of clay, mixed with straw, 
and covered with leaves and stalks of maize ; their government 
was despotic, and their chiefs were proud but comparatively 
humane ; their women were preeminently profligate ; they were 
fond of festivals, and offered in their temples the first fruits of 
every harvest ; they also offered human sacrifices ; and on the 
death of a chief, his warriors, to the number of one hundred, 



212 THB LOWS& MISSISSIPPI. 

were put to death, that he might be followed to the ^' spirit 
land" with a retinae to do him honor. From other authors we 
learn, that in process of time they were subdued by the French, 
their women and children reduced to slavery, and the remnant 
of their warriors were sent to St. Domingo, or became amalga-* 
mated with the Creeks and Chickasaws. 

There is one point on the Mississippi river which has been, 
and still is, subject to earthquakes, and those who have a fancy 
for such ^' institutions," would do well to spend a day in the 
village of New Madrid. Other points of interest that might be 
mentioned, are the mouths of the Red River and Washita, the 
Arkansas, the White and the Yazoo rivers. They are all very 
much alike in their alluvial character, sluggish, and generally 
muddy, running for the most part through uncultivated wilder* 
nesses, abounding in wild game and reptiles, with low and mo- 
notonous shores, fringed with the rankest vegetation, and teem* 
ing with the more common kinds of fish. Steamboats almost 
without number, small, savage and dirty affairs, navigate all 
their waters during the winter, and the amount of cotton which 
they annually float to market is very large. About each of 
these rivers an interesting book might be written, and to the 
lover of wild life and wild scenery, there are no rivers on the 
Continent that can excel the Red River and Arkansas. The 
Great Raft of the former, and the Hot Springs in the valley of 
the latter, will alone repay the traveller for the fatigue a&d 
dangers he must experience in visiting them. 

To describe anew the scAiery of the Lower Mississippi is not 
my intention. To all intelligent minds, its very name is iden- 
tified with troubled and muddy waters, low and perpetually 
crumbling banks and continuous forests, where humanity iB 
barely represented by the wood-chopper or the pioneer farmer; 
— ^with swift and flashy and dangerous steamboats, with saw- 
yers and snags, with flat-boats and rafts, and with a restless 
and ever-moving population, whose traits and pursuits are 
almost infinite, and who (it needs no prophet's eye to see) are 
gradually transforming themselves into a body politic, which 
will eventually become the heart of the richest republican em- 
pire upon earth. 



THE OHIO RIVER AND OVER THE MOUNTAINS. 



Eight years ago, when I first sailed both up and down the 
Ohio, I attempted a description of its scenery and more poetical 
associations, bat gave up the task in despair. I felt then, as I 
do now, that this river, like all the magnificent rivers of our 
land, can onljT be adequately portrayed in a series of chapters, 
and that in a single letter the tourist must confine himself to 
generalities, which are always unsatisfactory. But having, as 
opportunities occurred, heretofore touched upon nearly all the 
leading American rivers, I must at least devote a paragraph to 
the Ohio. 

It is formed by the union of the Alleghany and Monon- 
gahela, which are deservedly the pride of Pennsylvania; while 
the Kanawha, with its pulpit clifis, extensive salt works, and 
grand water-falls ; the Cumberland, which flows through an 
agricultural region of surpassing richness; the Tennessee, with 
its gateway of mountains and rich country, and the lonely 
Wabash, all pour their waters into its uniform and placid cur- 
rent, which extends from Pittsburg to Cairo, one thousand 
miles. Its banks are generally precipitous, rising oftentimes 
into cliffs or bluffs three hundred feet in height, with bottom* 
lands of the greatest fertility. The forests, which everywhere 
cast their shadows upon it, consist of gigantic trees of almost 
every variety peculiar to the latitude ; and the wooded islands 
which gem its bosom are numberless. The steamboats which 
ply upon it, vie, in every particular, with those of the Great 
Lakes and the Mississippi ;«and upon no river in the world can 
be found more extensive and beautiful farms, or a happier or 



214 THE OHIO RIVER AND OVER THE MOUKTAINS. 

more intelligent population. And what a brotherhood of cities 
and towns have sprung up all along its banks ! They cannot, 
without a gazetteer, even be enumerated ; but the honors of 
commerce are chiefly enjoyed by Pittsburg, the city of lumber, 
coal and iron; Cincinnati, the city of pork and wine; and Louis- 
ville, also a city of pork, as well as of chivalry and wit. In 
the second of these cities, it was once my fortune to spend the 
greater part of a year, and I always hear its name mentioned 
with pleasure. In my opinion, it is destined to be the largest 
and most wealthy place in the whole western country. Its 
founders and leading men came from New England, and in no 
other city can the indomitable will and elevated moral character 
of the Puritan blood, be more satisfactorily studied. 

But alas ! like too many of our superb rivers the more poeti- 
cal and peculiar characteristics of the Ohio river «are daily dis- 
appearing before the march of mammon. For this reason it is 
therefore, that when I would really enjoy the Ohio in its per- 
fection, my mind reverts to those days, when it watered a com- 
parative wilderness. And especially do I love to think of it, 
as it was seen and described by the great and good Audubon, 
who not only voyaged upon it at all seasons, but studied his 
delightful science upon its banks for many years. Then it 
was, that in the autumn, every tree was hung with long and 
flowing festoons of difierent species of vines, their richly colored 
fruit mingling with the yellow and deep green leaves, in such a 
manner as to surpass in brilliancy the gardens of the east. In 
floating down the stream in his skiff, the Naturalist met with no 
other ripple of the water, than that formed by the propulsion 
of his boat ; and having his family with him, and an abundance 
of time at command, his enjoyment of the grand and beauti* 
ful scenery must have been truly exquisite. The fish that 
abounded in the stream, and the deer or turkeys that were 
killed along the shores, afforded him the best of food, and the 
nights that he spent by his camp fire, in the shadow of the huge 
buck-eye or sycamore were indeed ^' grand, gloomy and peculiar. 
No wonder then that he believed Natufe had done more for this re- 
gion than any other on the globe. Every day had its event, and 



THB OHIO RIVS& AND OYER THE MOUNTAINS* 215 

ihongli simple in their character, they made a deep impression 
upon his mind, and are more clearly descriptive of the virgin 
scenery of the Ohio, than all the set descriptiongr of all the writing 
* travelers from Basil Hall and Harriet Martinean down to the last 
Guide Book and Fredericka Bremer. At one time the setting 
sun and the twilight hour, affected him with strong emotions ; and 
the tinkling of bells told him the tired cattle were returning from 
their forest rambles to the settlements ; and at another time the 
hooting of the great owl took his fancy captive and his dreams 
were of unvisited regions and of his future fame. Now the 
mellow-horn fell sweetly upon his ear heralding a keel boat 
laden with good things from New Orleans, on its slow passage 
up the stream, and then the fiddle, and sounds of laughter 
echoed over the waters from the rude deck of a flat boat, freighted 
with produce for emigrants, or a raft ornamented with rude flags 
and horns of the red deer and elk. At all times, the habits of 
many of the birds he has so charmingly described were studied 
and recorded. Here, the lonely cabin of the squatter met his 
eye, giving note of coming civilization ; and there, the rude en- 
campment of Indian hunters invited him to a ^'pow wow." 
Thanking his Maker for the blessing of existence, he pondered 
much and gratefully, upon the sufferings which had been pre- 
viously endured by some of the best blood of good old Virginia 
in purchasing the safe navigation of the river ; and with the 
toilsome lives of the earlier pioneers, and the daring deeds of 
the Regulators, who helped to free the country of its scoundrel 
population, he was quite familiar. When all these things are 
considered it is not to be wondered at, that, in the evening of his 
days, when the golden bowl was breaking^ the noble Audubon, 
should have have said to others, as he said to me, when once I 
spent a most happy day under his roof on the Hudson, — ^^ My 
recollections of the beautiful Ohio, are among the most cher- 
ished of my heart, and I would fain die upon its shore." But 
he died upon the margin of the Hudson. It was well that he 
should have won his brightest laurels on the banks of the fairest 
river of the west; and as he was a favorite of nature, and in her 
eye did live, it was more than well that the noblest river of 
the east should lave his burial place. 



216 THB OHIO RIVER AND OVER THE HOimTAINS. 

The journey from Pittsburg to Washington was performed by 
i*ailroad, and the route lay np the Conemaugh, over the Alle- 
ghany mountains, down the Juniata and Susquehanna, and so 
across the country to the Potomac, having travelled, in a little 
less than four months, a distance of about eight thousand miles. 
I was accompanied during the entire tour by my wife, and 
though constantly exposed to the dangers of steamboat and 
rickety carriage travelling, it is indeed surprising, that not a 
single accident of moment has occurred to retard us on the 
way. The same remark is applicable to the long and frequent 
summer tours that I have performed in the Western, Northern 
and Eastern States, and through the neighboring British Pro- 
vinces, and while few lovers of their country have had better 
opportunities than I, to view its magnificent scenery and study 
the character of its people, I cannot but hope my gratitude is 
equal to my rare good fortune. 

But I would speak of our rushing journey through Pennsyl- 
vania. The Conemaugh is a picturesque stream, and though 
spring had just made her appearance in its lower valley, we 
found, as we proceeded that winter was still ruler among its tri- 
butaries on the mountains. Along its course we noticed a great 
number of coal mines, which seemed to be located at all sorts 
of elevations, and to see the coal trains coming out of the 
earth like living monsters, and wind downward as waywardly 
as the mountain streams, was a most curious and interesting 
spectacle. As the Pennsylvania canal followed our own course, 
it gave, with its boats and horses, its bridges and rude cabins, 
a pleasing variety to the panorama. Before reaching the sum- 
mit of the mountain range, we ran through no less than four 
tunnels, the last one more than thirty-six hundred feet long, 
on emerging from which we were overtaken by a snow-storm. 
The tops of the hills were all covered with the pure element, 
the cedars and the pines were drooping under its weight, and 
from the surrounding cliffs hung, in a thousand fantastic forms, 
immense masses of solid ice. But the locomotive, and the men 
who managed it, and the conductors, paid no regard to the no- 
ble scenery and the storm ; and onward and downward sped the 
,train, its very movement reminding one of things unearthly,— -> 



THB OHIO RIVBB AND OVBB THB MOUNTAINS. 



21T 



onward with the speed of the wind. And now we have reached 
the yallej of the Janiata. A beautiful stream, and worthy of 
its fame ! It springs from the earth where the red deer gives 
birth to its fawn ; it passes by the hunt'er^s cabin, springs over 
ledges of rock without number, sweeps through cultivated fields, 
tumbles over dams, and turns every mill-wheel it happens to 
meet, usurps the business of the canal, and floats its heavily 
laden boats, mirrors a great number of hills covered with pine, 
maple and oak, as well as many farms, all richly cultivated ; 
rushes under picturesque bridges, races Tf ith the canal, enriches 
broad meadows, where cattle are grazing and horses are play- 
ing ; laves the threshold of rural cabins, with children sporting 
beside them in wild glee ; yields its treasures to the fishermen, 
wears upon its bosom the most charming of islands, perpetuates 
in its color the emerald of summer, receives into its flood a 
hundred laughing brooks, teeming with trout, and finally waters 
a broad valley, where the yeoman tills his soil in peace, and 
looks with pride upon his lawn— like hills covered with sheep, 
while from many a grove is heard the pleasant singing of the 
birds. Onward, onward in our course. We cross, and at Har- 
risburg recross the superb Susquehanna, rush with increasing 
rapidity down the valley of the very beautiful Gunpowder river 
to Baltimore, and in two hours are at home. And thus endeth 
** a Winter in the South." 



VOL. n. — p 



OCCASIONAL RECORDS. 



J 



THE SUGAR CAMP. 



Among our more agreeable recollections of the wilderness 
are those associated with the making of maple sugar. Our 
first taste of this sweetest of woodland luxuries was received 
from the hands of an Indian, into whose wigwam we had wan- 
dered from our father's dwelling, on one of the Saturday after- 
noons of our boyhood. It was many years ago, and long before 
the frontier of Michigan was transformed into a flourishing 
member of the national confederacy. Since that time we have 
not only eaten our full proportion of the luxury in question, 
both in wigwam and cabin, but we have seen it extensively 
manufactured by the Indian, as well as the white man ; and 
we now purpose to discourse upon the article itself, and upon a 
few incidents connected with its manufacture. 

Maple sugar is made from the sap of a tree, known by the 
several names of rock maple, hard maple, and sugar maple, 
which is found in great abundance in various portions of the 
Union, but chiefly in the northern States. It is a lofty and 
elegantly proportioned tree, and its foliage is particularly»luxu- 
riant ; and, when touched by the frosts of autumn, is pre-emi- 
nently brilliant. The wood is also highly esteemed for the 
beauty of its fibre, which consists of con centrical circles, resem- 
bliiig the eye of a bird ; and hence the term bird's-eye maple. 

Generally speaking, the sugar-making season commences 
early in April, is universally considered as one of festivity, and 
seldom continues more than four weeks. The sudden transition 
of the temperature from winter to spring is essential to its pro- 
duction, for at this season alone does the vital principal of the 



n 



222 TfiB SUGAR CAMP. 

tree pass in large quantities from the roots into its branches. 
Hence it is that^ while making this passage, the sap has to be 
withdrawn ; and this is accomplished by making an incision in 
the tree some three feet from the ground, and receiving the 
liquid in a vessel prepared for the purpose. And it has been 
observed that, when a frosty night is followed by a dry and 
sunny day, the sap flows abundantly, at which times three or 
four gallons are obtained from a single tree in twenty-four 
hours. The process employed for converting the sap into sugar 
is perfectly simple, and consists in boiling it first into a syrup 
and then into a more tangible substance. Of this sugar there 
are two kinds, viz., the hard or cake sugar, and that of a friable 
character, which is produced by constantly stirring the thick 
syrup when it is becoming cool. The taste of the sap or juice, 
when taken from the tree, is just sweet enough to be noticed ; 
and though we have never ascertained the quantity commonly 
obtained from a single tree, we have been told that a very fruit- 
ful tree, in a good season, may be made to yield five pounds of 
the best sugar. To the human palate this juice is not generally 
agreeable, but wild and domestic animals are said to be inordi- 
nately fond of it, and slake their thirst with it whenever they 
can. Although a sufficient quantity of maple sugar has never 
been manufactured in this country to rank it among our arti- 
cles of exportation, it has, for many years past, been about the 
only sugar used by a large number of people— especially those 
who live in the more thickly-wooded districts of the States, and 
those inhabiting the northern and western frontiers of the 
United States and Canada. In the opinion of all who manu- 
facture the article it is held in high estimation, both as a luxury 
and on account of its nutrition. In regard to this last quality, 
we believe it is superior to all other sugars ; for we know, from 
personal observation, that when eaten by the Indian children, 
during the manufacturing season, they become particularly- 
hearty, though exclusively confined to it as an article of food 
for weeks at a time. 

From the v^ry nature of the business, the making of maple 
sugar is commonly carried on in an encampment, and we now 



'flt«u^" 






THB BVQAU GAMP. 



228 



purpose to describe the Tarious kinds with which we are ac- 
quainted, beginning, as a matter of course, with an Indian 
camp. We are speaking of the remote past, and of an encamp- 
ment of Ottawa Indians, in one of the maple forests skirting 
the western shore of Green Bay. It is in the month of April, 
and the hunting season is at an end. Albeit, the ground is 
covered with snow, the noonday sun has become quite powerful, 
and the annual offering has been made to the Great Spirit, by 
the medicine men, of the first product of one of the earliest trees 
in the district. This being the preparatory signal for extensive 
business, the women of the encampment proceed to make a 
large number of wooden troughs to receive the liquid treasure, 
and, after these are finished, the various trees in the neighbor- 
hood are tapped, and the juice begins to run. In the mean 
time, the men of the party have built the necessary fires, and 
suspended over them their earthen, brass, or iron kettles. The 
sap is now flowing in copious streams, and from one end of the 
camp to the other is at once presented an animated and roman- 
tic scene, which continues, without interruption, day and night 
until the end of the sugar season. The principal employment 
to which the men devote themselves is that of lounging about 
the encampment, shooting at marks, and playing the moccasin 
game ; while the main part of the labor is performed by the 
women, who not only attend to the kettles, but employ all their 
leisure time in making the beautiful birchen mocucks, for the 
preservation and transportation of the sugar when made ; the 
sap being brought from the troughs to the kettles by the boys 
and girls. Less attention than usual is paid by the Indfans at 
such times to their meals, and, unless game is very easily ob- 
tained, they are quite content to depend upon the sugar alone. 
If an Indian happens to return from the river with a fish, he 
throws it without any ceremony into the boiling sap, dipping it 
out, when cooked, with a ladle or stick ; and therefore it is that 
we often find in the maple sugar of Indian manufacture the 
bones of a trout, or some more unworthy fish. That even'' a 
bird, a rabbit, or an opossum, is sometimes thrown int(^ the 
kettle instead of a fish is beyond a doubt ; and we are not posi- 



<n 



224 TH£ SUGAR CAMP. 

tively certain that the civilized fashion of eating jelly with roast 
lamb, may not be traced to the barbarous custom of cooking 
animals in hot sap. That this sap itself, when known to be 
clear and reduced to the consistency of molasses, is a palatable 
article, we are ready to maintain against the world ; and we 
confess that, when not quite so fastidious as now, we have often 
eaten it in truly dangerous quantities, even in the cabin of an 
Indian. As we have already intimated, the sugar season is de- 
pendent upon the weather ; but, even when it is prolonged to 
four or five weeks, it continues from beginning to end to be one 
of hilarity and gladness. At such times, even the wolfish-look- 
ing dogs seem to consider themselves entitled to the privilege 
of sticking their noses into the vessels of sap not yet placed 
over the fire. And in this manner does the poor Indian wel- 
come returning Spring. 

It is now about the middle of June, and some fifty birchen 
canoes have just been launched upon the waters of Green Bay. 
They are occupied by our Ottawa sugar-makers, who have 
started upon a pilgrimage to Mackinaw. The distance is near 
two hundred miles, and as the canoes are heavily laden, not 
only with mocucks of sugar, but with furs collected by the 
hunters during the past winter, and the Indians are travelling 
at their leisure, the party will probably reaph their desired 
haven in the course of ten days. Well content with their accu- 
mulated treasures, both the women and the men are in a par- 
ticularly happy mood, and many a wild song is heard to echo 
over the placid lake. As the evening approaches, day after 
day they seek out some convenient landing-place, and, pitching 
their wigwams on the beach, spend a goodly portion of the 
night carousing and telling stories around their camp fires, re- 
suming their voyage after a morning sleep, long after the sun 
has risen above the blue waters of the east. Another sunset 
hour, and the cavalcade of canoes is quiety gliding into the 
crescent bay of Mackinaw, and, reaching a beautiful beach at 
the foot of a lofty bluflF, the Indians again draw up their canoes, 
again erect their wigwams. And, as the Indian traders have 
assembled on the spot, the more improvident of the party im- 



THB SUGAR CAMP. 225 

mediately proceed to exhibit their sugar and furs, which are 
usually disposed of for flour and pork, blankets and knives, 
guns, ammunition, and a great variety of trinkets, long before 
the hour of midnight. That the remainder of this night is de- 
voted to feasting and dancing, and tumultuous recreation, is a 
matter of course. But the trader who would obtain from the 
Indians their more unique articles of merchandise, usually visits 
the encampment on the following morning, when he is always 
certain of obtaining from the young women, on the most rea- 
sonable terms, their fancy mocucks of sugar, all worked over 
with porcupine quills ; and a great variety of beautifully worked 
moccasins, and fancy bags, made of the sweet-smelling deer 
skin. In about a week after their arrival at Mackinaw, the 
Ottawa Indians begin to sigh for the freedom of the wilderness ; 
and, before the trader has left his bed some pleasant morning, 
there is nothing to be seen on the beach at Mackinaw but the 
smoking embers of a score or two of watch-fires. 

We would now conduct our readers into the sugar camp of 
a Frenchman. It is situated in one of the maple forests of 
Michigan, on the banks of the Biver Raisin, and within half a 
mile of the rude, comfortable dwelling of the proprietor, v ery 
much the same process is here pursued in making the sugar 
that we have already described, only that a large proportion of 
the labor is performed by the men and boys, the women parti- 
cipating in the employment more for the purpose of carefully 
packing away the sugar when made, and having a little roman- 
tic sport in the way of eating hot sugar in the aisles of the 
church-like forest. The season of winter with our Frenchman 
has been devoted almost exclusively to the pleasures of life, and 
the making of sugar is the first and probably the only really 
lucrative business which«he ever transacts. By the term lucra- 
tive we mean a business which allows him to lay aside a little 
spare money ; for, generally speaking (like the class to which 
he belongs in the north-west,) he is perfectly satisfied if the 
agricultural products of his small farm yield him a comfortable 
living. Maple sugar and maple molasses are considered by our 
friend and his family as among their greatest luxuries ; ahd 



/ 



226 THE SUGAR CAMP. 

while he makes a point of taking a goodly quantity to market, 
he never fails to keep a plentiful supply of both under his own 
roof. In transporting his sugar (a^ well as all other marketable 
articles,) to the neighboring towns, he employs a rude two- 
wheeled vehicle, made exclusively of wood, and drawn by a 
Canadian pony. On his first visit to the town after the sugar 
season is ended, he will be accompanied by his entire family, 
decked in their more tidy garments ; and, before his return 
home, you may be certain that the Catholic priest, whose church 
he regularly attends, will receive a handsome present of the 
newly-made sugar, with perhaps a small keg of the delicious 
maple syrup or molasses. And thus does the Frenchman of the 
frontier welcome the return of spring. 

But we have spent some pleasant days in the sugar camps of 
the Dutch yeomanry on the eastern and southern side of the 
Catskill Mountains, and we must not omit to pay our respects 
to them. The very best sugar is made in this region, and much 
of it into solid cakes of various sizes, from one pound to twenty. 
It is manufactured here both for home consumption and the 
market, and the price which it has usually commanded during 
the ftst ten years has been about one '^Tork shilling" per 
pound. The labor in this region is about equally divided be- 
tween the women and the men, and considerable attention is 
devoted to the cultivation of the maple-tree. In cooling their 
sugar, or rather in performing the business called ^^ sugaring 
off," the Dutch employ immense wrought-iron pans, which are 
undoubtedly a great improvement upon the Indian and French 
fashions, which are simply no fashions at all, since the kettles 
employed to boil the sugar are used to *' cool it off." 

But the Dutch of whom we are speaking, those especially 
who are more wealthy than their neighbors, have a very sensi- 
ble mode of winding up their sugar-making labors by giving 
what they term a " Sugar-hee^'' or party. The elements which 
go to make up one of these rustic entertainments it would be 
difficult to describe. We may mention, however, that every 
body is invited, old men and their wives, young men and 
maidens ; that the principal recreation is that of dancing to 



THB 8U0AE OAHP. 227 

the music of a fiddle ; that a most sumptuous and excessively 
miscellaneous feast is spread before the multitude; that the 
people assemble in the afternoon, and generally succeed in get- 
ting home an hour or two after the break of day. That an 
abundance of maple sugar is met with on these occaflions will 
be readily imagined, and we may add that, in those districts 
where temperance societies are unpopular, the sugar is taken 
considerably adulterated in whisky. 

The last sugar-bee to which we had the pleasure of being 
invited, while once sojourning among the Gatskills, was given 
by an old Dutchman who resided on the side of a moun- 
tain, some Un miles from our temporary abode. We started 
for his house about sundown, in a. large lumber- wagon, which 
was packed by no less than eight buxom damsels and four young 
men besides ourself. Although a perfect. stranger to nearly all 
the party, we were received as an old friend. The damsels 
were in high glee ; we had a reckless driver and a span of ca- 
pital horses, and of course the young men were not at all back- 
ward in their deportment. The first half of the road was very 
good, and, as we rattled along, the songs, uncouth and shrill, 
which were sung, awakened many a mountain echo. But while 
all this was going on, and other things which we have not time 
to mention, the sky became overcast, and in a short time it 
began to rain, and a most intense darkness settled upon the 
woods. Our driver became bewildered, and the first that we 
knew was that he had lost the road, and that our horses had 
halted directly in front of a huge stump. Having thus unex- 
pectedly been brought to a stand, the male members of the 
party proceeded to reconnoitre, and one of them fortunately 
discovered a light at the distance of half a mile. Towards this 
light did the entire party direct their march, and about twelve 
o'clock succeeded in reaching a log-cabin, which was inhabited 
by an old hunter ; and as the guests of this man the party, in 
a very disagreeable mood, spent the remainder of the night. 
Long before the mists had left the valleys on the following 
morning, the party had worked its way out of the woods, and 
for a week afterwards we were frequently complimented for the; 
important part that we had taken in the last tugar^bee. 



228 THE SUGAR CAMP. 

We cannot conclnde this article without remarking that maple 
sugar of rare quality is manufactured in the States of Vermont, 
Kew Hampshire, and Maine ; but as we have never visited that 
section of the Union in the spring we cannot, from personal 
observation, speak of the New England sugar camps. That 
the maple sugar usually offered for sale in the Boston and New 
York markets is chiefly brought from this section of country 
we know to be a fact, and it is one which forcibly illustrates 
the true idea of Yankee enterprise. 

P. S. — Since writing the above, we have had the pleasure of 
reading an interesting description of a maple sugar camp, by 
the eminent ornithologist, Mr. Audubon, from which we gather 
the following particulars, viz., that the juice of the sugar maple 
was to him a most refreshing and delicious beverage ; that it 
takes ten gallons of this juice to make one pound of grained 
sugar ; that the best of the syrup is made at the close of the 
sugar season ; and that the sugar maple is found in abundance 
from Maine to Louisiana, invariably growing on rich and ele- 
vated grounds. 



ACCOMAC. 



Upwards of two hundred years ago, the long peninsula, now 
divided into the counties of Accomac and Northampton, in Vir- 
ginia, was known by the Indian name of Acohatffmaek. An 
extensive tribe of aborigines who occupied the country, bore 
the same title, and the meaning of the word is said to be. People 
who live upon sheUJUh. Next to a scanty record embodied in 
Captain John Smith's History of Virginia, the earliest printed 
account of this region may be found at the conclusion of a pam- 
phlet written by one Colonel Nobwood, of England, wherein he 
describes ^A Voyage to Virginia in 1649." At the conclusion 
of his perilous voyage across the Atlantic, it was the author's 
misfortune to be wrecked upon one of the islands on the eastern 
ehon) of Aocomac, and that, too, in the stormy month of Janu- 
ary. To comment upon Norwood's well written and very inter- 
esting pamphlet, is not now our object ; but we will remark, in 
passing, that this document, taken in connection with the county 
records of the peninsula, which extend as far back as the year 
1682, and also with the ancient graveyards of the region, would 
furnish material for an exceedingly valuable and entertaining 
volume, and we are surprised that some enterprising antiqua- 
rian of Virginia haa not, long before this, taken the matter in 
hand. It is our province to speak of Aecomae (by which we 
mean the ancient dominion known by that name) as it appears 
to the traveller of the present day. 

What the distance may be from Washington to the northern 
line of Accomao we cannot imagine, but we know that if the 
morning cars to Baltimore are punctual, and you are fortunati> 



280 ACOOMAO. • 

enough to meet the Whitehaven steamboat at Baltimore, at 8 
o'clock, you may enjoy your next breakfast at Horntown, a few 
miles south of the Maryland line, and within the limits of Acco- 
mac. On board of the steamer which brought us down the 
bay, there was rather a scarcity of passengers, but among them 
were some intelligent gentlemen, from one of whom we gathered 
the following items of information. The entire length of the 
Ghesapieake Bay, from Havr^ de Grace to Norfolk, is two hun- 
dred miles; in width it varies from five to twenty-six miles, and 
in depth from four to twenty-four fathoms. Its shores are low 
and level, with occasional bluffs, however, and its waters clear 
and of a greenish hue. It contains a great number of islands, 
some of which are exceedingly fertile, but destitute of all pic- 
turesque beauty. During the autumn and winter its shallower 
waters are filled with almost every variety of waterfowl ; it is 
said to yield a larger quantity of oysters than any other section 
of the globe of the same sise ; and it is also famous for the 
abundance and quality of its shad, striped bass or rock-fish, its 
drum, sheeps-head, and a species of sea-trout. On approaching 
the Wicomoco river, an island of one thousand acres was pointed 
out to us, called Bloodsworth Island, which is the property of 
two men, who reside upon their domain, a pair of veritable her- 
mits, who live upon fish and waterfowl, instead of cultivating 
their soil. Our attention was also directed to a neighboring 
island, which seemed to be in a state of high cultivation, and 
we were told that the owner thereof had refused the hands<Mne 
price of one hundred dollars per acre for the entire island. 
With regard to Deal's Island and Dames Quarter, in this vici- 
nity of the bay, we heard the following anecdote. The original 
name of the first was ^' Devil's Island," and that of the second, 
^^ Damned Quarter," as any one may see by referring to some 
of the older maps. Once upon a time, as the story goes, a Con- 
necticut skipper, in his smack, chanced to make his course up 
the Chesapeake, and as he was a stranger in this region, he 
hailed nearly every vessel or boat he met, with a lot of quea- 
tions. ^^ What island is that 2" inquired the Yankee, of a down.- 
vrard bound brig. ^^DeviTs Island^'' was the brief rej^y ; where- 



ACCOMAC. 231 

upon the stranger's conscience was a little disturbed. About 
an honr afterwards, ^^ What island is that?" again vociferated 
the skipper; and a Chesapeake fisherman replied, ^^Dainned 
Quarter.'* At this intelligence, the Yankee was so much alarmed 
that he immediately made a sadden tack, and with his helm 
'^ hard up*' started for the outlet of the bay, and was never 
heard of more in southern waters. 

The peninsula of Accomac, as n'^arly as we can ascertain, 
varies in width from eight to twelva miles, and is not far from 
seventy miles long. Generally speaking, it is almost as level 
as the sea, the highest ground not attaining a greater elevation 
than some twenty feet. The soil is of a sandy character, and 
the forests, which are quite extensive, are composed chiefly of 
pine and oak. The country is almost entirely destitute of run- 
ning streams, and nearly all the inlets, especially on the bay 
aide, are lined with extensive marshes, where snakes, turtles, 
and lizards are particularly abundant. Along the sea side of 
Accomac lie a succession of sandy islands, which render the 
navigation dangerous, and between which and the main shore 
the water is shallow and far from clear. Two of the above 
islands, Assateague and Ghingoteague, are inhabited by a pe- 
culiar people, of whom I shall have something to say in another 
place. The only villages in this district, properly so called, 
are Drummontown and Eastville ; they are the county seats, 
and though bearing an ancient appearance, they contain some 
good houses, and are well worth visiting. You can hardly travel 
eight miles, in any direction, without coming to a post-office, 
which glories in a village name, and therefore appears on paper 
to much better advantage than in reality. In some parts of 
the country we frequently noticed houses which seemed to have 
been abandoned by their owners, as if the soil in the vicinity 
had been completely worn out, and could not be profitably cul- 
tivated. These household ruins, together with the apparent 
want of enterprise, which one notices everywhere, conspire to 
tfatow a gloom over the traveller's mind, thereby preventing 
him,\)erhaps, from fully appreciating the happiness which really 
prevails among the people. And these (as is the case, in fact, 



N. 



232 ACGOMAG. 

with every nook and corner of the world,) constitate the prin- 
cipal attraction of Accomac ; for man by nature is a lover of 
his kind, and " we have all one human heart by which we live." 
Tf we were called upon to classify the Accomacians, we would 
divide them into the gentry, the miscellaneous fraternity, and 
the slave population. The gentry are a comparatively small 
class, but the principal landholders of the district. They come 
of good old English families, and are highly intelligent and 
well educated. The houses they occupy are homely in appear- 
ance, but well supplied with all the substantial that can add to 
the pleasures of country life. They seem to think more of com- 
fort than display, and are distinguished for their hospitality to 
strangers. The miscellaneous faternity, to which we have al- 
luded, is more extensive. A very large proportion of them 
obtain their living from the sea, annually bringing up from its 
bed an immense quantity of oysters and clams, which they sell 
to the fishermen of Philadelphia and New York ; but these fish- 
ermen not only send to market large quantities of fish, but dur- 
ing the autumn and winter months they make a good deal of 
money by killing waterfowl, which abound on all the shores of 
the peninsula. The more legitimate fishermen of Accomac, 
who number between thirty and forty voters, reside on the 
neighboring islands of Chingoteague and Assateague. They 
are an exceedingly hard, rude, and simple-hearted race, and a 
little more at home on the water than on the land. The dan- 
gers to which they wilfully expose themselves are truly aston- 
ishing, and almost lead one to suppose that they are web-footed. 
We have been told of one individual who, for want of a boat, 
once swam a distance of three miles in midwinter, merely for 
the purpose of examining the wreck of a brig which: had been 
abandoned by its owners ; and we have heard of others who 
had been upset at sea, a distance of ten miles from shore, bat 
who have regained their mother earth with the ease anl care- 
lessness of wild geese. In the miscellaneous fraternity maV alsb 
be included the mechanics of the country, and all such pe^>lo 
as stage-drivers, dram-shop keepers, peddlers, and other kin- 
dred birds, / 



\, 




i 



ACCOMAC. 238 

The slave population of this district is decidedly the most 
extensive, and, if we are to judge by their general deportment, 
and by what they say, they are undoubtedly by far the happiest 
class on the peninsula. We questioned them occasionally with 
regard to what we have been educated to look upon as a hard 
lot, but we never saw but one individual who succeeded in rous- 
ing our sympathies, and before he finished talking to us, we dis- 
covered that he was a scamp of the first water, and therefore 
not worthy of credit. Every negro in this section of country 
has the evening hours to himself, as well as the entire Sabbath, 
and, instead of being 'Mashed'' into obedience, is constantly 
treated with the utmost kindness. Many of them, who choose 
to labor for themselves, have free permfssion to follow any em* 
ployment they please ; and we know of several individuals who 
earn thirty dollars per month by voluntary labor, and whose 
services are valued by their masters at only ten or fifteen dol- 
lars ; so that the servant pockets fifty per cent, of his monthly 
earnings. But what proves more conclusively than anything 
else, that the black man's bondage is not unbearable, is the fact 
that they are the most moral and religious people of the coun- 
try. They are, at the same time, the most polite and the most 
kindly spoken people that we have met with in our wanderings ; 
and we verily believe that they would not break the imaginary 
chain which now binds them to their masters. We confess that 
we have a natural repugnance to the word hondagcy but our 
dread of a jnere idea cannot make us deaf to the eloquence of 
what we have 9een. It is true, that our experience has not been 
extensive, but we cannot see that the slaves, so called, of this 
region, are any more to be pitied than the children of any care- 
ful and affectionate parent. A goodly number of the blacks 
in this region are free ; and we know of one individual who is 
not only free, but the owner of no less than three farms. 

And now, with regard to those traits which the Accomacianp 
possess in common. In religion they are Methodists and ^ 
tists, and in politics they belong to the rank and file ^ ^^S^" 
unterrified Democracy. Those who are at all edu"^ * great 
highly educated ; but of the twenty-five thousan'' *^® ocean, 

VOL. n.- 



i 



234 ACGOMAg. 

inhabit the peninsula, ire suppose that not more than one thou- 
sand could distinguish the difference between the English and 
the Chippewa alphabet. In the two counties of Accomac and 
Northampton, the idea of even a weekly newspaper was never 
dreamed of. The people are fond of amusement, which con- 
sists principally of dancing and card-playing parties, and the 
Saturday of each week is usually appropriated as a holiday. 
Any event which -can bring together a crowd is gladly wel- 
comed, so that court days, training days, election days, the 
Fourth of July, Christmas day, New Tear's day, and Thanks- 
giving day are among the white days of the unwritten calendar 
of the Accomacians. .The roads of the country are all by na- 
ture very good, and the people exceedingly fond of going 
through the world as pleasantly as possible ; so that each man 
who can own a horse is sure of owning a gig, and many of them 
are particularly unique and tottleish, something like a scow- 
boat in a gale of wind. 

But the crowning peculiarity of this nook of the great world 
has reference to the custom of raising and tamfaig wild horses. 
Like everything poetical connected with the habits of our peo- 
plO) this custom is rapidly becoming obsolete, and will soon be 
remembered merely as an idle and romantic tale. The very 
idea of having to do with wild horses excited our fancy 
the moment we heard the custom alluded to ; and we made 
every effort to collect reliable information upon it, as it existed 
half a century ago. As good fortune would have it^ we found 
out an intelligent and venerable gentleman, who supplied us 
with many interesting particulars. The ^^ oldest inhabitant' ' 
to whom we allude, is the Rev. David Wattb, of Homtown, 
who is now in the 82d year of his age, and the substance of his 
information is as follows : — 

In the Atlantic Ocean, off the north-eastern shore of Acco- 
mac, lies a long and sandy island known by the name of Assa- 
lessi<Q, The distance from one extremity to the other is per- 
be inclu miles, and in reaching it you have to cross a bay that 
as stage-Uoight miles wide. At the present time, there are 
^ dred birds, jy^B residing upon the island, one of them having 



AOOOJCAO. 285 

chftrge of the lighthonse, the remaixung three being devoted to 
the fiflhing business. From time immemorial it has been famous 
for its luxuriant grass, and from the period of the Revolution 
down to the year 1800, supplied an immense number of wild 
horses with food. When these animals were first introduced 
upon the island has not been ascertained, but it is said that 
they were the most abundant about half a century ago. At 
that period there was a kind of stock company in existence, 
composed principally of the wealthier planters residing on the 
main shore. The animals were of the pony breed, but gener- 
ally beautifully formed and very fleet ; of a deep black color, 
and with remarkably long tails and manes. They lived and 
multiplied upon the island without the least care from the hand 
of man, and, though feeding entirely on the grass of the salt 
meadows, they were in good condition throughout the year. 
They were employed by their owners, to a considerable extent, 
for purposes of agriculture, but the finer specimens were kept 
or disposed of as pets for the use of ladies and children. The 
prices which they commanded on the island varied from ten to 
twenty dollars, but by the time a handsome animal could reach 
New York or New Orleans, he was likely to command one hun- 
dred and fifty or two hundred dollars. 

But by far the most interesting circumstance connected with 
the wild horses of Assateague had reference to the annual fes- 
tival of penning the animals, for the purpose, not only of bring- 
ing them under subjection, but of selling them to any who 
might desire to purchase. The day in question was the 10th 
of June, on which occasion there was always an immense con- 
course of people assembled on the island from all parts of the 
surrounding country ; not only men, but women and children ; 
planters who came to make money, strangers who wished to 
purchase a beautiful animal for a present, together with the 
groQms or horse-tamers, who were noted at the time for their 
wonderful feats of horsemanship. But a large proportion of 
the multitude came together for the purpose of having a regu- 
lar frolic ; and feasting and dancing were carried on to a great 
extent, and that too upon the open sandy shore of the ocean, 



236 ACCOMAC. 

the people being exposed during the day to the scorching sun- 
shine, and the scene being enlivened at night by immense bon- 
fires, made of wrecked vessels or drift wood, and the light of 
the moon and stars. The staple business of these anniversa- 
ries, however, was to tame and brand the horses, which were 
usually cornered in a pen, perhaps a hundred at a time, when, 
in the presence of the immense concourse of people, the tamers 
would rush into the midst of the herd, and not only noose and 
halter the wild and untamed creatures, but, mounting them, at 
times, even without a bridle, would rush from the pen and per- 
form a thousand fantastic and daring feats upon the sand. 
Few, if any, of these horsemen were ever killed or wounded 
while performing these exploits, though it is said that they fre- 
quently came in such close contact with the horses as to be 
compelled to wrestle with them, as man with man. But, what 
was still more remarkable, these men were never known to fail 
in completely subduing the horses they attempted to tame ; and 
it Vas oft^n the case that an animal which was as wild as a 
hawk in the morning could be safely ridden by a child at the 
Bunset hour. 

On his return from !^ccomac, which was visited at the special 
request of Joseph Gales, Esq., the writer went over to the good 
old-fashioned town of Norfolk and paid his respects to the 
famous Dismal Swamp in its vicinity. A most happy name is 
this, for a most unhappy looking place. It lies on the dividing 
line between Virginia and North Carolina, extending north 
And south a distance of thirty miles, and east and west about a 
•dozen miles. It is an area of low submerged land, covered 
with a dense forest of pine, juniper and cypress, and all its 
more striking features, such as the green mosses which cover 
the fallen trees and cling around the roots of all, the grey 
mosses which hang from the branches of the cypress trees, the 
lonely lake and the water birds, reptiles and wild beasts which 
abound in every nook and comer, are in strictest keeping with 
the prevailing idea of gloom and desolation. And then, again, 
as is most natural, the stories and legends associated with the 
Dismal Swamp are anything but cheerful. The most authentic 



ACCOMAG. 287 

and pathetic one of all, and one which the poet Mcore has made 
the theme of a fine lyric, is to this effect : — a young man who 
lost his mind on the death of the girl whom he loved, disap- 
peared from his friends and was never heard of afterwards. As 
he had frequently said, in his delirium, that the girl was not 
dead hut gone in a canoe to the Dismal Swamp, it is supposed 
that he wandered into that dreary wilderness in search of the 
maid, and had died of hunger or from exposure in some of its 
dreadful morasses. But mammon has cut a canal through a 
portion of even the Dismal Swamp, and it cannot he long before 
every vestige of its primeval poetry will be forever gone. 



THE FUR TRAPPERS. 



The unique brotherhood of men to -whom we now direct the 
attention of our readers have always depended upon the fur 
trade alone for their support, and as the various fur companies 
of North America have flourished and declined, so have the 
trappers multiplied or decreased in numbers. The French, 
who were the founders of the fur trade on this continent, es- 
tablished themselves here in 1606, and the trapping fraternity 
may therefore claim the honor of having existed nearly two 
centuries and a half. To estimate the precise number of indi- 
viduals composing this class at the present time would be an 
impossibility, occupying as they do a section of country ex- 
tending from the Pacific Ocean to Hudson's Bay. 

By the laws of our country they have ever been looked upon 
as aliens from the commonwealth of civilization, and by the 
Indian tribes as trespassers Uf on their natural and inherited 
privileges. The blood of the white man, though frequently 
considerably adulterated, invariably runs through their veins, 
and the great majority trace their oiigin to a French, Scottish, 
or Irish ancestry, it being an established and singular fact that 
trappers of pure American blood are exceedingly rare. Those 
of the far north commonly have the dark eyes and hair of the 
Canadian Frenchman, and those of the south-west the flaxen 
hair and broad brogue of the Scotchman or Irishman. The 
motives generary found to have influenced them in entering 
upon their peculiar life are exceedingly various, but among the 
more common may be mentioned a deeply-rooted love f r the 
works of Nature in their primeval luxuriance, want of sufficient 



THl WB, TBAPPBBS. 239 

intelligenee to prosecute a more respeetable business, and a de- 
sire to keep out of the way of certain laws which they may 
have transgressed in their earlier days. They are usually men 
with families, their wires being pure Indian, and their children, 
of course, half breeds. They have what may be termed fixed 
habitations, but these are rude log cabins, located on the ex- 
treme frontiers of the civilized world. In religion, as a class, 
tbey are behind their red brethren of the wilderness, and their 
knowledge of books is quite as limited. Generally speaking, 
they spend about nine months roaming alone through the soli- 
t«de of the forests and prairies, and the remaining three months 
of the year with their families or at the trading posts t>f the 
fur companies. As their harvest time is the winter, they are 
necessarily men of iron constitutions, and frequently endure 
tke severest hardships and privations. Understanding as they 
do the science of trapping and the use of the gun more tho- 
roughly than the Indian, they eclipse him in the business of 
acquiring furs, and from their superior knowledge of the civili- 
sed world, limited though it be, they realize much greater pro- 
fits, and hence it is, that they are not only hated by the Indian 
but abo by the traders, llieir manner of dressing is ordinarily 
about half civilized, their buckskin hunting shirts and fur caps, of 
their own manufacture, appearing almost as picturesque as the 
blankets and plumes of the Indian himself. Like the Indians, too, 
they prefer richly-fringed leggins to pantaloons, and embroidered 
moccasins to shoes. To be perfectly free from every restraint 
both of body and mind, is their chief ambition, and to enjoy 
the freedom of the wilderness is their utmost happiness. Those 
who follow their trade among the mountains are commonly 
banded together in parties of half a dozen. They perform 
their long journey altogether upon horseback, and when among 
the mountains are as expert in scaling precipices, surmounting 
waterfalls, and buffeting snow-storms as the more hardy of the 
Indian tribes. They are expert horsemen, ride the best of 
animals, and take great pleasure, not only in decking them- 
selves with ornaments, but also in caparisoning their horses in 
die most grotesque yet picturesque manner. The hardihood 



240 • THE FUR TRAPPEK8. 

of these animals may be mentioned as something remarkable, 
for it is said that their only food during the winter months con- 
sists of what they can obtain from their own unaided exertions 
by burrowing in the snow, and stables are to them entirely un- 
known. As to the animals which all of them make it their 
business to capture, it may be mentioned that chiefest among 
them all is the beaver ; but a goodly portion of their income is 
derived from the furs and peltries of the martin, otter, musk- 
rat, bear, fox, mink, lynx, wolverine, raccoon, wolf, elk, and 
deer, and the robes of the huge buffalo. 

But let us describe the life of the trapping fraternity some- 
what more minutely, in doing which we shall give an illustrative 
sketch of the career of a single individual, describing his 
departure from home, his sojourn in the wilderness, his return 
home, and his manner of spending his brief summer furlough. 

It is a bright October morning, and about the threshold of 
the trapper's cabin there is an unusual stir. While the trapper 
himself is busily engaged in examining and putting in order his 
traps, packing away his powder and lead, with a number of 
good flints, giving the lock of his old rifle a thorough oiling, 
and sharpening his knives; his wife is stowing away in his 
knapsack a few simple cooking utensils, a small bag of tea and 
a little sugar, several pairs of moccasins and coarse woolen 
socks, and a goodly quantity of the sinewy material used in 
making snow-shoes. The fact that our friend is about to sepa- 
rate from his family for the most part of a year, makes him 
particularly kind to those about him ; and, by way of manifest- 
ing his feelings, he gives into his wife's possession what little 
spare money he may have left in his pocket out of ins earnings 
of the previous year, and allows his children to make as much 
noise as they please, even refraining from scolding them when 
they kick and abuse his, favorite hunting dogs. All things 
being ready, night comes, and the trapper permits himself to 
enjoy another sleep in the midst of his household, but long 
before the break of day he has whistled to his dogs, and, with 
his knapsack on his back, has taken his departure for a stream 
that rises among the Rocky Mountains. If his coarse lies 




THB FUR TRAPPBR8. 241 

thongh a forest land he continues to travel on foot, taking his 
own leisure, killing a sufficient quantity of game to ^tisfy his 
wants, and sleeping at night upon his skins, under a canopy of 
leaves. If extensive water courses lie within his range, he 
purchases a canoe of some wandering Indians and plays the 
part of a navigator ; and if he finds it necessary to cross exten- 
sive prairies, he obtains a pony, and, packing himself and 
plunder upon the animal, plays the part of an equestrian. 
When the first blast of December, accompanied by a shower of 
snow sweeps over the land, it finds our trapper friend -snugly 
domiciled in a log shanty at the mouth of the river where he 
purposes to spend the winter, trapping for beaver. 

And now all things are ready, and the trapper has actually 
entered upon his winter avocation. He has reconnoitered the 
valley in which he finds himself, and having ascertained the 
localities of the beaver, with their houses and dams, he forth- 
with manages to shoot a single male beaver, and having obtained 
from his glandulous pouch a substance called castoreum^ he 
mixes it with a number of aromatics, and in three or four days 
he is supplied with a suitable bait and proceeds to set his traps. 
As the senses of the beaver are exceedingly keen, the business 
of the trapper requires experience and great caution, and he 
glides through the forests almost with the silence of a ghost ; 
but, when a master of his calling, he seldom leaves a beaver village 
until, by his cunning arts, it has become depopulated. The 
war of extermination, as already intimated, begins at the mouth 
of the river, and with our friend, will only cease when he has 
reached the fountain-head, or the season for trapping comes to 
an end. The coldest winds may blow and the woods may be 
completely blocked with snow, but the trapper has mounted his 
snow-shoes, and day after day does he revisit and re-arrange 
his traps. If night overtake him when far removed from his 
shanty (which may be the case more than half the time,) he 
digs himself a hole in some sheltered snow bank, and, wrapped 
up in his blanket by the side of his solitary fire, spends a 
strangely comfortable night. When not engaged with his traps, 
.he employs his time in drying and dressing his furs; or, as 



242 THE F0B T11APPBR8. 

fancy may dictate, he shoulders his gun and starts out for the 
purpose of capturing a deer, a bear, or some of the beasts whidi 
are wont to howl him to sleep at the midnight hour. Venison 
and bear meat constitute his principal food, but he is particu- 
larly partial to the tail of his favorite beaver. The only human 
beings with whom he has any social intercourse during the long 
winter, are the poor wandering Indians who chance to visit him 
in his cabin ; and at such times, many are the wild adventures 
and strange legends which they relate to each other around 
the huge fire of the trapper. And he now enjoys to perfection 
the companionship of his dogs. Companions, it is true, of 
another sort sometimes gather around hi6 lonely habitation to 
relieve his solitude ; for the snowy owl hoots and screams at 
night from the huge pine branch that reaches over his cabin, 
or perhaps an unmolested deer manifests its love of companion- 
ship by browsing the twigs in broad daylight almost at his very 
threshold. But now fair weather cometh out of the north, and 
the trapper begins to think that he has secured such a supply 
of furs as will guarranty him a comfortable support during the 
coming summer, and one by one he gathers in his traps. The 
crack of his rifle is now heard more frequently echoing through 
the woods, for he cares not to obtain more beaver skins even if 
he could, and he would obtain a sufficient number of miscella'- 
neous furs to render his assortment complete. Heavy spring 
rains have set in, the water courses are nearly released from 
their icy fetters, and on issuing from his cabin, after a night of 
conflicting dreams, he finds that the neighboring stream has 
become unusually full. A single glance at its turbid waters is 
enough. He cuts down a suitable tree and builds him a canoe, 
and in this he stows away his furs and all his other plunder, 
and, seising his paddle, he jumps into his seat, and with a light 
heart starts for his distant home. 

The rains are over and gone, and although our voyager has 
already been ten days upon the waters, he has yet at least a 
thousand additional miles to travel. Rapids without number 
are to be passed, many a laborious portage must be made 
around huge waterfalls, and at least two months must elapse. 



THS VVB TBAPPBB8. 248 

before he cftn moor his little barge in the haven where he would 
be. Day follows day, and his course is onward. All along his 
route the forest trees are bursting their buds and decking 
themselves with the livery of the vernal season, while the 
grasses and flowers of the prairies are striving to overreach 
each other as they loom into the pleasant«sunshine. And then, 
too, the heart of our voyager is cheered by the singing of birds. 
When night comes, and he has lain himself down by bis watch- 
fire on the shore, in some litlo cove, he is lulled to sleep by the 
murmuring music of the stream. If, on a pleasant day when 
he is fatigued, he happen upon an Indian encampment and 
finds that an extensive ball-play or an Indian horse race, or 
any important medicine ceremony is about to occur, he tarries 
there for a few hours, and then, as his mind dwells upon the 
grotesque and laughable scenes he has witnessed, resumes his 
voyage in a more cheerful mood. Day follows day, and the 
stream upon which he is now floating is broad and deep, and 
sweeps onward as if rejoicing with pride for having triumphed 
over the obstacles of the wilderness, and is Yapidly approaching 
the fields and the abodes of civilization. It is now the close of 
a day in the leafy month of June, and our voyager is gliding 
noiselessly into the quiet cove beside his cabin, and, uttering a 
loud whistle or whoop and firing his gun, his wife and children 
hasten to the shore, and — ^the trapper is at home ! 

The summer time, in the opinion of our trapper friend, is 
the season of unalloyed enjoyment, for it is then that he gives 
himself up to the gratification of all his desires. Having dis- 
posed of his furs and peltries at the nearest trading post for a 
few hundred dollars in cash, or its equivalent in merchandise, 
he deems himself independently rich, and conducts himself 
accordingly. In a fit of liberality, he orders his wife and 
children into his canoe and takes them upon a visit to the 
nearest frontier village or city, where he loads them with gew- 
gaws, and the family spend a few days. The novelty of this 
visit soon passes away, and our trapper with his family are 
once more domiciled in their cabin. A week of inactivity then 
follows, and the trapper becomes as restless as a fish out of 



TBB lUB TBAPPEBS. 

He ia tronbled with a kind of itching 
'.s upon a vagabondiziDg tonr among the I 
nding establiBlimentB, reconnting to all w 
ia adventures in the wilderne^, and 8pen( 
the summer after the manner of the idle ai 
le first froat brings him to his senses, an' 
If again — for he is thinking of the wilde 



ROCK CREEK. 



It was a delightful autumnal morning in Washington City, 
and we had called upon a friend (who, like ourself, is a lover of 
nature,) and proposed that we should spend a daj in the woods, 
whereupon he whistled for his handsome greyhound, and with 
our sketch-books in hand, we departed. We turned our faces 
towards Hock Oreekj which rises in the central portion of 
Montgomery county, Maryland, and after running a distance of 
some fifteen miles, finally empties into the Potomac, between 
Washington and Georgetown. And now, before going one step 
further, we wish to inform the reader that it is not our inten- 
tion to give a complete description of this charming stream : to 
accomplish that task faithfully it would be necessary for us to 
write a thousand poems and paint at least a thousand pictures, 
every one of which should be a gem. We purpose only to 
record the more prominent impressions which have been left 
upon our mind by the excursion to which we allude. 

We struck the creek just without the limits of the city, and 
the first object that attracted our attention was '^ Decatur's 
tomb." This memorial of a departed naval hero occupies the 
summit of a picturesque hill, and is shaded from the sun by a 
brotherhood of handsome oak trees. It is built of bricks (which 
are painted white,) and resembles in shape a small Grecian 
temple without its columns, and is without any inscription. 
The remains of the commodore were originally deposited here, 
but his ashes have subsequently been removed to Philadelphia 
and deposited in his family vault. The land upon which this 
tomb is located is called Kalorama, and belongs to an estate 



246 KOCK CREEK. 

originally owned by Joel Barlow, which fact is alone sufficient 
to give it a reputation ; but it is somewhat more interesting to 
know that it was upon this spot of earth that Robert Fulton 
first tried his experiments while studying the science of steam 
navigation. This was at the time when Barlow and Fulton 
were on the most intimate terms of friendship, and Kalorama 
was Fulton's principal home. A gentleman residing in George- 
town informs us that he can well remember the time when an 
old wooden shed was standing in the vicinity of Rock Greek, 
where Fulton tried many of his experiments; and we are 
also informed that the parlour walls of Kalorama was once or- 
nam nted with fresco paintings executed by Fulton at the re- 
quest of his friend Barlow. Subsequently to that period and 
while .\ et a member of Barlow's family, Fulton kept an account 
book, in which he recorded all his business transactions, and 
that curious and valuable relic of the departed engineer is now 
in the pos ession of a citizen of Washington, Joseph Gales, 
Esq., by whose politeness we are privileged to gratify our an- 
tiquarian readers with a brief description of the account book 
in question. It is of the size of an ordinary mercantile cash- 
book, and although only half filled with writing, it contains a 
record of business transactions occurring during the years 
1809,- 10,- ll,-12,-r'18, and '14. It seems to have been kept 
with very little regard to method, but nevertheless contains a 
a great variety of items which are quite valuable in a historical 
point of view. On a fly-leaf for example, we have the follow- 
ing record :— 

'^ 1813. The dry-dock finished at the steamboat works in 
Jersey City on the 14th October. On that day, at 1 o'clock, 
the original North River steamboat entered for the first time, 
and I believe is the first vessel that has been in a dry-dock in 
the United States." 

With regard to the name of the " original North River 
steamboat," we are not certain: but on the same leaf with the 
^ above, we find the following memorandum : — 



BOOK ORBBK. 247 

" Car of Neptune — length of her bottom 157 feet ; do. on 
deck 171 feet 6 inches ; extreme width of the bottom 22 feet : 
do. on deck 26 feet." 

And here> in passing, we will mention a few particulars re- 
specting X\ii&fir9t steamer and her firit trip from New York to 
Albany, communicated to the public bj one of her firBt passen* 
gers, John Q. Wilson, Esq., of the latter city. She had twelve 
births and they were all occupied, the fare being seven dollars, 
and the passage was performed in thirty-two hours. A quaker 
friend of Mr. Wilson hearing that he intended to venture upon 
the passage accosted him : ^' John, will thee risk thy life in such 
a concern? I tell thee, she is the mo^i fearful wildfowl living^ 
and thy father ought to restrain thee." Fulton himself was 
on board and his clear and sharp voice was heard above the 
strange noises of the machinery, and though he heard, on every 
hand, before starting, the jeers of the skeptical, he thought of 
the future and was not dismayed. 

With a view of showing the profitableness of the steam-boat- 
ing business in the olden times, we append the following : — 

^' Total number of passengers in the Raritan for 1809 : 

202 to Elizabethtown Point, at 4s. each,. . . . $101 00 

1,480 to Amboy, at 8 do. . . . 1,480 50 

692 to Brunswick, at 12 do. . . . 1,088 75 

90 way 65 20 



Total receipts 2,675 45 

^' Of this sum one-sixth, equal $445 90, to patentees." 

■ 

Of the various persons with whom Fulton seems to have had 
extensive dealings, the principal one was Robert R. Livingston, 
from whom large sums of money were frequently received. 
The principal items under the head of 1813 (which seems to 
have been a very busy year), give one an idea of the extent of 
Fulton's business, and is as follows : — 



248 KOCE CREEK. 

" Steamboats building and engaged : 

2 from New Orleans to LouisTille and St. Louif 

Misaiasippi 

1 " Pittsbnrgh to Louieville, Ohio . . . 
1 " Richmond to Korfolk, James River . . 
1 " Washington to Malbourg, Potomac . . 
1 on Long Island Sound, from New York t 

Hartford 

1 " East Birer (errj boat to Brooklyn 

1, Petersburg 

1, Elizabeth 

1, Robert Fulton 

1, Charleston 

1, Cape Fear 

Total 

Another record which we find under the same i 

" Waters under the direction of B. H. Latrot 
them as be shall have a steamboat on and in act 
by January, 1815. Such as shall not have the 
for one boat within one year from May 1, 1813, s 
disposal of Livingston and Fulton. 

" 1st, Potomac, from Georgetown to Potomac C 

" 2d, for the sounds from Charleston to Savani 

" Sd, from Pittsburg to Louisville. 

" 4th, the Cumberland from Nashville to Louts 

" 6th, the Tennessee to Louisville. 

" For raising companies, funds, and establish: 
has to have of each one-third of the patentee's ri 

Under the head of 1812, we find a statement j 
penses of a North Kiver steamboat (what one w 
which amounted to J610 per month, the boat mal 
six trips. And as to wages, we gather that the c 
ed SoO per month; pilot, $35; engineer, $35; 



ROOK ORSEK. 249 

firemen, (20 each ; cook^ (16 ; servants, (14 ; and chamber- 
maid, (8. 

Another record readeth as follows : — 

" Q-entlemen of influence in Cincinnati^ Ohio. — Jacob Bur- 
net, Esq., Martin Baum, Esq., Jesse Hunt, General Findley, 
General Gano, Mr. Stanly." 

The following we find under the head of ^^ Notes on Steam- 
boats :"— 

" The Comet, constructed in Pittsburg in the spring of 1818, 
for Mr. Smith, is 52 feet long and 8 feet beam, cylinder 6^ 
inches diameter, 18 inches stroke, vibrating motion, no conden- 
ser or air-pump. The water wheel in the stern, 6 feet diame- 
ter, 8 paddles, 2 feet 6 inches long and 11 inches wide. The 
boiler 14 feet long, 2 feet 6 inches wide, with a flue high, steam 
from 50 to 60 pounds to the inch square, 20 to 30 double stroke 
a minute. This i» Evanses idea of steam power by high steam. 
It was the Marquis of Worcester's 120 years ago; and Mr. 
Watts 30 years ago tried and abandoned it.'* 

Another curious memorandum, which is without a caption, is 
as follows : — 

" 10,000 acres of pine land on Egg Harbor River, the pro- 
perty of Ebenezer Tucker, of Tuckerton, Burlington county, 
known by the name of Judge Tucker. Should this land pro- 
duce only ten cords to an acre, it will be 1,000 to 100 acres, or 
100,000 cords. The steamboats from New York will use 1,500 
cords a year, or, for New York and Albany, 3,000 cords ; 
thence 20 years would consume the wood of 6,000 acres, in 
which time, the first cut would grow up, and thus this 10,000 
acres would perpetually supply the steamboats." 

The longest record in this account book (like all the others,) 
is in Fulton's own handwriting, and entitled ^' Livingston and 
FuUon vs. Lake Ohamplain boat.'' It occupies four closely 
written pages, is dated October 12, 1810, and signed by Robert 

VOL. II, — B 



, ** -«^^ 



fn;. 



250 ROCK CREEK. 

R. Livingston. It is an interesting docnment, bat as the vol- 
ume in question is about to be presented to the New York His- 
torical Society, I will leave it with that honorable body to give 
it to the public in some of their publications. 

But enough of this episode. Though Rock Creek may have 
been the birthplace of Fulton's steamboat idea, yet it is cer- 
tain that, with all his fiery monsters at our command, we could 
never ascend this beautiful stream without the use of our legs, 
and we will therefore rejoin our companion and continue our 
pedestrian pilgrimage. 

Our next halting-place, after we left Kalorama, was at an 
old mill, located in the centre of a secluded glen. With the hum- 
ming music of its wheels, with the polite attentions of the flaurtf 
miller, and the rustic beauty of his cottage and children, we 
were well pleased, but with the natural loveliness of the place we 
were delighted. A greater variety of luxuriant foliage we never 
before witnessed in so limited a nook of the country. From one 
point of view a scene presented itself which was indeed exquisite. 
We were completely hemmed in from the great world, and, in 
addition to the mill and the cottage, we had a full view of the 
stream, which was spanned by a rustic foot bridge, upon which 
a couple of children were standing and throwing pebbles in tly 
water, while a few paces beyond a man was pulling to the shore 
a small boat laden with wood. On either hand, a number of 
proud-looking oaks towered against the sky, and by the water's 
•edge in the distance stood a stupendous silver willow, literally 
white with age ; and, to complete the picture, we had in one 
place a mysterious brick ruin, and in the foreground a variety 
of mossy rocks, upon which, in a superb attitude, stood our 
beautiful greyhound, watching a little army of minnows sport- 
ing in a neighboring pool. And with what great name does 
our reader imagine this beautiful place is associated ? None 
other than that of the late John Quincy Adams, who became 
its purchaser many years ago, and to whose estate (as we be- 
lieve,) it now belongs. And many a time, in other days, has 
that distinguished statesman spent the morning under the dome 
of the isapitol in political debate, and the afternoon of the 



BOOK CBBBX. 251 

same day in this romantic glen, listening to the singing of the 
birds, which had built their nests in the branches of his own 
trees. 

The roads which crossed the channel of Bock Creek, and fre- 
quently run for a long distance along its winding vale, are dis- 
tinguished for their loneliness, and of course well adapted to 
please the poetic mind. Along many of them yon might walk 
for miles without meeting a human being, but then you would 
be sure to frighten many a rabbit, and destroy the gossamer 
hammocks of unnumbered spiders. While passing along the 
road which took us from Adams' Mill further up the stream, 
we chanced to overtake a small negro boy (who was almost 
without any rags on his back, and whose straw hat looked as if 
the cows had feasted upon its brim,) with whom our companion 
held the following dialogue : — 

" Boy, where are you going ?*' 

" I'm gwine down to Mr. Pierce's." 

And here — taking out his pencil, holding up his sketch-book, 
and looking very fiercely at the darkie — our friend exclaimed, 
" I'll sketch you, you rascal." 

Whereupon the poor boy uttered a most frightful yell, and 
ran away in the greatest consternation, as if we had been a pair 
bf murderers. 

Our next stopping-place was at a cider mill, where an old 
negro, with the assistance of a mule, was grindmg apples, and 
another man was pressing the sweet juice into a mammoth tub. 
A lot of boys, who were out on a chestnut gathering excursion, 
had discovered the mill, and having initiated themselves into 
the good graces of the darkies, were evidently enjoying a por- 
tion of Mr. Horace Greeley's celebrated "good time." 

But it is now about noon, and we have reached that spot 
upon Bock Creek known as Pierce's Plantation. Here we 
found the ruins of an old saw-mill, and while transferring a 
portrait of it to our sketch-book, with its half decayed dam, 
and two or three hoary sycamores and elms, we discovered a 
boy in the act of fishing. We bowed to him as to a brother 
angler, and looking into his basket, we found snugly lying 



252 ROCK CRBBK. 

there no less than half a dozen handsome fall"^ fish, weighiBg 
from six ounces to a pound each* These we of course pur- 
chased, and then inquired of the boy if he knew of a house in 
that vicinity where we could likely have the fish cooked. He 
replied in the affirmative, whereupon we sent him to the dwell- 
ing he mentioned for the purpose of warning the inmates of 
our approach. On our arrival there we were warmly welcomed, 
and in due time we had the satisfaction of enjoying as finely 
cooked fish a» ever tickled the palate of Izaak Walton or Sir 
Humphrey Davy. Not only were we waited upon with marked 
politeness, but were treated with an abundance of delicious 
currant wine and new cider, and for all this truly southern 
hospitality we could make no return, excepting in the way of 
gratitude. 

But, pleasant as was our reception and repast at this Rock 
Creek cottage, our own mind was more deeply impressed with 
the exquisitely charming appearance of the cottage itself and 
surrounding buildings. It struck us as one of the most comfort- 
able and poetical nooks that we ever beheld. It seemed to have 
everything about it calculated to win the heart of a lover of 
nature and rural life. Though situated on the side of a hill 
and embowered in trees, it commands a pleasing landscape ; 
and as it was built upwards of one hundred years ago, it is in- 
teresting for its antiquity. Surmounted as it is with a pointed 
roof, green with the moss of years, and flanked by a vine- 
covered porch, the vegetation which clusters around it is so 
abundant that you can hardly discover its real proportions. 
And all the out-buildings are in strict keeping with the cottage 
itself. It is, upon the whole, one of the most interesting nooks 
to be found anywhere within an hour's ride of the capitol ; and 
we can fully understand what a certain wealthy gentleman /eft 
when he made the remark that this Rock Creek cottage was 
the only place he had ever seen which he would prefer to his 



* The Fall Fish of Rock Creek is eyidentlj identical with the Dace of Wal- 
ton ; it is really a beautiful and sweet fish, and well deserves its local repu- 
tation. 



BOOK CRBBK. 258 

own, albeit his own residence is one of the most costly and 
beantifttl in the District of Columbia. 

The scenery of Bock Creek for several miles above the Pierce 
Plantation, is chiefly distinguished for its simple and quiet 
beauty. The whole vale in fact is remarkably luxuriant, and 
probably contains as great a variety of foliage as can be found 
m the same space in any section of the country. For miles 
and miles do the trees come together as if for the purpose of 
protecting the murmuring stream from the kia^es of the sun- 
lighty and even in September, birds and flowers are quite abun- 
dant ; for here it is (it would seem) that summer liijgers longest 
in the lap of autumn. And such vines, too, as cluster along 
the margin of this stream ! The net-work which they have 
formed over the innumerable tiny waterfalls and the dark 
pools, is graceful beyond compare ; and while happy children 
go there at times to gather the luscious grapes, we are certain 
that the little people of fairyland are well content with their 
allotted privilege of using the swing of the vine, while in the 
enjoyment of their midnight revels. 

But we find that we are getting to be decidedly too poetical 
for our own safety and the comfort of our readers, and as the 
san has long since passed the meridian, it is time that we should 
think of returning home. And, besides, as we shall return to 
the city by a difierent route from the one we came, we purpose 
to introduce to our readers one or two more '^places of note" 
which are identified with Bock Creek. 

And first as to the Bock Creek church, which lies somef^ere 
between one and two miles eastward of the stream from which it 
derives its name. The original Bock Creek chapel was founded 
in the year 1719, and the bricks employed in its construction 
were brought from England. It became a parish church in 
1726, at which time the glebe land (as at the present time, I 
believe) amounted to one hundred acres. It was rebuilt in the 
year 1768, the design having been made, it is said, by Wash- 
ington, and many improvements added in the year 1808. The 
first rector of the church was the Bev. Greorge Murdock, who 
officiated for thirty-four years ; his successors were Bev. Alex- 



254 BOCK CREEE. 

ander Williamson, Rev. Thomas Read, Rer. Alfred Henry 
Dashiels, Rev. Thomas G. Allen, Rev. Henry C. Knight, Rev. 
Levin I. Gills, Rev. Edward Waylen, and the present incum- 
bent. Rev. William A. Harris. Of Mr. Read it is recorded 
that he presided over the church for forty years, during the 
-whole of which time he was absent only thirty months ; and 
with regard to Mr. Waylen, it may be stated that he compiled 
an interesting history of the Parish, which was published in 
1845. 

The appearance of Rock Creek church, as it now stands, is 
simply that of an old-fashioned but very comfortable brick 
church. It occupies the summit of a gentle hill, and is com- 
pletely surrounded with a brotherhood of fine oak and chestnut 
trees. On every side of it tombs and grave-stones are quite 
abundant, and some of them are so very old as to be almost 
entirely hidden in the earth. Although we spent nearly an 
hour in this city of the dead, deciphering the various epitaphs, 
we only stumbled upon one which attracted our particular at- 
tention ; it was a simple stone slab, covered with moss, upon 
which was this touching record : — 

'* Grant, Lordf token I from death do wahe, 
I may ofendles9 life partake. 

J.R. 
1802." 

And now, suppose our readers tarry with us for a few mo- 
meiA at the residence of a certain retired banker, which lies 
only a short distance from the Rock Greek church. With the 
elegant mansion and highly cultivated grounds, everybody must 
of necessity be pleased, for we believe that a more tasteful and 
superb place is not to be found in the country. It caps the 
summit of the loftiest hill in the vicinity of Washington, and 
while in one direction it commands a view of the Alleghany 
Mountains, in another lies spread out a complete panoramic 
view of the metropolis of the land, with a magnificent reach of 
the Potomac extending a distance of at least forty miles. To 
comment upon the spirits who preside over the mansion to 



BOCK CBEBK. 



255 



which we have alluded is not our purpose, but we may mention 
in passing that among the numerous productions of art which 
adorn the interior, are two capital pictures by Morland, and a 
very fine landscape by Gainsborough. But enough. The sun 
is already near the horizon, and even now the latter half of 
our walk home must be by the light of the moon. And so much 
for a vagabondizing day on Bock Greek. 






A VIRGINIA BARBECUE. 



The word barbecue is said to be derived from a combination 
of two French words, signifying from the head to the tail, or 
rather, " according to the modem," tJ^ whole figure, or the 
whole hog. By some, this species of entertainment is thought 
to have originated in the West India Islands. However this 
may be, it is quite certain that it was first introduced into this 
country by the early settlers of Virginia; and though well 
known throughout all the Southern States, it is commonly 
looked upon as a ^^ pleasant invention" of the Old Dominion. 
The idea was evidently conceived by a rural population, and in 
a district where villages and the ordinary public buildings of the 
present time were few and far between. For purposes of busi- 
ness or pleasure, the people found it necessary, or advisable, 
to meet together in masses, at stated periods*; and as these 
meetings were made a kind of rural festival, and as the animals 
served up on such occasions were commonly roasted entire, it 
was not unnatural that the feast should eventually have become 
known as a barbecue. 

Of the genus barbecue, as it exists at the present time, we 
believe there are only two varieties known to the people of 
Virginia, and these may be denominated as social and political. 
The social barbecue is sometimes given at the expense of a 
single individual, but more commonly by a party of gentlemen, 
who desire to gratify their friends and neighbors by a social 
entertainment. At times, the ceremony of issuing written in- 
vitations is attended to ; but, generally speaking, it is under- 
stood that all the yeomanry of the immediate neighborhood, 



A VIRQIHU BAEBBCUB4 257 

irith their wives and children, will be heartily welcomed, and a 
spirit of perfect equality invariably preyails. The spot ordi- 
narily seleeted for the meeting is an oaken grove in some 
pleasant vale, and the first movement is to dispatch to the 
selected place a crowd of faithfnl negroes, for the purpose of 
making all the necessary arrangements. If the barbecue is 
given at the expense of half a dozen gentlemen, you may safely 
calculate that at least thirty servants will be employed in bring- 
ing together the good things.* Those belonging to one of the 
entertainers will probably make their appearance on the ground 
with a wagon load of fine young pigs : others will bring two or 
three lambs, others some fine old whisky and a supply of wine, 
ofthers the necessary table-cloths, plates, knives and forks, 
others an abundance of bread, and others will make their ap- 
pearance in the capacity of musicians. When the necessaries 
are thus collected, the servants all join hands and proceed with 
dieir important duties. They first dig a pit, four feet wide^ 
two or three deep, and as long as they require, into which they 
throw a quantity of wood, for the purpose of obtaining there- 
firom a bed of burning coals* This done, the more expert 
kitchen negroes proceed to roast (by laying them upon sticks 
across the fires) the various animals prepared for the occasion. 
In the meantime, all the other arrangements are progressing, 
S8oh as spreading the white cloths upon the temporary board 
tibles, and clearing a place for dancing. The guests begin to 
assemble about ten o'clock, and by noon there is hardly a tree 
within hailing distance of the centre of attraction, to which a 
horse is not fastened. The assembly is quite large ; and white 
<}re8se8 and scarlet shawls are as numerous ae the summer 
flowers upon the neighboring hills. Old men are here with 
their wives and daughters, in whose veins floweth the best of 
aristocratic blood ; young husband with their wives ; unmarried 
gentlemen with a bevy of laughing girls under their charge ; 
aind children of every age, from the wild and boisterous boy to 
little girls ju8t old enough. to totter after a butterfly. One,- or 
perhaps two hours, are then spent by the multitude in playing 
rural gaiQca^ in social converse, in telling stories, or in discus- 



258 A VIBOINU BARBBCUS. 

sing the news of the day. Finally, the pigs and lambs have all 
been roasted, and the feast is ready ; whereupon there foUoweth 
as busy and satisfactory a scene as can well be imagined. After 
it is ended, the negroes come into rightful possession of all the 
tables and the abundance of good things left over ; and, having 
quietly invited a number of their friends, with their families, 
they proceed to enjoy their portion of the entertainment, which 
is generally conclude^ by a regular negro frolic, with banjo 
and fiddle, in a neighboring grove. In due time, after the 
more substantial feature of the barbecue has been enjoyed, the 
musicians are summoned to their allotted places, and the entire 
party of ladies and gentlemen proceed to trip the light fantastic 
toe. The exercise continues for hours, and white-haired men 
and little girls are seen wending their way through the intricate 
mazes of the country dance and the Virginia reel. As the sun 
nears the horizon, the more advanced members of the party 
quietly take their departure, leaving a cloud of dust behind 
them on the road. By the time the last day-flower has closed 
its petal, the young men and maidens have entire possession of 
the barbecue ground ; and having wound up the last reel by the 
light of the newly-risen moon, they dismiss the musicians, gather 
together their hats and shawls, and with many a song and jest 
return to their several homes. 

With regard to the political barbecue, we have to remark 
that it differs from the one already described only in the fol- 
lowing particulars : It is generally gotten up by the leaders of 
one of the political parties, and speeches take the place of 
dancing, although ladies in considerable numbers are in attend- 
ance. Previous to the appointed day for the political barbecue, 
a placard is nailed to all the barn doors and blacksmith shops 
in the district or county where it occurs, to the effect that 
^^ several distinguished speakers will be present on the occa- 
sion," and that the people of all parties are invited to be pre- 
sent. If the entertainers on this occasion are of the Whig 
party, the first speech is delivered by a Whig orator, and it is 
no uncommon sight to see this gentleman standing literally an 
the Hump. After he has taken his seat, he is usually followed 



A YIBOIKIA BABBICUX. 



259 



by a brother orator of the Democratic party ; and so, alter- 
nately, are the principles of the prevailing parties fully dis- 
cussed. Generally, the greatest decorum exists, not only among 
the speakers but among the listeners ; and if severe remarks 
are dropped in the heat of debate, they are not commonly con- 
sidered of 8u£Scient consequence to create a breach between 
personal friends. There are times, however, when even the 
political barbecue is concluded by a dance ; but as the crowd is 
then particularly miscellaneous, the hilarity which usually pre- 
vails is apt to be a little too boisterous. When given in the 
autumn, new cider usually takes the place of more stimulating 
drinks (so far as the multitude are concerned, at any rate,) and 
when this is the case, it is very seldom that any improprieties 
occur. But a genuine Virginia barbecue, whether of a political 
or social character, is a rural entertainment which deserves far 
more praise than censure, and we know of none which affords 
the stranger a better opportunity of studying the character of 
the yeomanry of the Southern States, 



/ 



RATTLESNAKES. 



We believe that we hare seen a greater number of these 
reptiles, in our varioas journeyings, and been more intenselj 
frightened by them, than any other soenery-loving tourist or 
angler in the country, and hence the idea of our present essay. 
We shall record our information for the benefit of the general 
reader, rather than for the learned and scientific ; beginning our 
remarks with what we know of the character of that really 
beautiful and magnanimous, but most deadly animal, which was 
adopted as the revolutionary emblem of our country, as the 
eagle is now the emblem of the Republic. 

The rattlesnake derives its name from an instrument attached 
to its tail, consisting of a series of hollow scaly pieces which, 
when shaken, make a rattling or rustling noise. The number 
of these pieces or rattles are said to correspond with the num- 
ber of years which the animal has attained, and some travellers 
assert that they have been discovered with thirty rattles, though 
thirteen is a much more common number. It is one of the 
most venomous serpents, and yet one that we cannot but respect, 
since it habitually makes honorable use of the singular append- 
age with which it is gifted. It never strikes a foe without first 
warning him of his danger. In form it is somewhat corpulent, 
has a flat heart-shaped head, and is supplied with fangs, varying 
from a half-inch to an inch in length, which lie hidden horizon- 
tally in the flesh of the upper jaw, and are capable of being 
thrown out like the blade of a knife. The venom emitted by 
it is so deadly that it has been known to cause the death of a 
human being in a very few hours, and to destroy a dog or cat 



RATTMSlTAKnll. 261 

in less tban twenty minntes, and jet we have met with some 
hiif-dozen individuals in our travels who have been bitten by 
the rattlesnake without being seriously injured. Horses and 
cattle are known to become exceedingly terrified at its appear- 
ance, and generally speaking, when bitten, die in a short time, and 
yet we once saw a horse which was only troubled, in consequence 
of its bite, by a disease resembling the scurvy. The hair dropped 
off from the skin of the quadruped, and he looked horribly, 
if he did not feel so. As to the effect of this poison upon hogs, 
it has- frequently been proven to be perfectly harmless, and we 
know it to be the custom in certain portions of the country, for 
farmers to employ their swine for the express purpose of destroy- 
ing the rafctlesnakes infesting their land. The effect of the 
rattlesnake's bite upon itself is said to be generally fatal. In 
regard to the antidote of this poison, we are acquainted with 
on]y one, besides that of stimulants used in some parts of the 
country, which is the plant commonly called the rattlesnake 
weed. Both the leaf and the root are employed, and applied 
internally as well as externally. This plant grows to the height 
of six or eight inches, has one stock and a leaf resembling in 
shape the head of the rattlesnake, and is almost invariably found 
in those sections of the country where the reptile abounds. 

The courage of rattlesnakes is by no means remarkable, and 
it is but seldom that they will dispute the right of way with a 
man who is not afraid of them. They are sluggish in their 
movements, and accomplish the most of their travelling during 
the nocturnal hours. They feed upon almost every variety of 
living creatures which they can overpower. They are not par- 
tial to water, but when compelled to cro£»s a river or lake, they 
perform the feat in a most beautiful manner, holding their 
heads about one foot from the surface, and gliding along at a 
rapid rate. They are affectionate creatures, and it is alleged 
that when their offspring are very young, and they are disturbed 
by the presence of man, the mothers swallow their little ones 
until the danger is past, and then disgorge them alive and 
writhing. 

Another of their peculiarities consist in the fact, that they 






BATTLKNAKBS. 

be entirely disarmed by brandishing over their heads the 
es of the white ash, which are so obnoxious to their nerWoB 
em as to produce the most painfal contortions of the body. 
:n traveling at night in search of food, or for purposes of 
eation, as it may be, they have a fashion of visiting the 
impments of banters, and it has been ascertained that the 
' way of keeping them at a respectable distance is to en- 
,e the camp with a rope, over which they are afraid to 
rl ;— and it has frequently happened to hunters, in a snake 
itry, that on awakmg after a night of repose, they have 
)vered on the outside of their magic circle as many as a 
n of the charming creatures, carefully coiled up and sound 
)p. It b also related of this snake, that it has the power 
browing off or suppressing a disagreeable effluvium, which 
lite sickening to those who come within its range. If this 
rue it occurs chiefly in the month of August, when the 
^her is sultry and the snake is particularly fat. That this 
:e has the power of charming, as some writers maintain, 

be true, but we know not of an authenticated iDBtance. 
t it may have a very quiet way of stealing upon its prey 
IS to us much more plausible — but upon this fact we are 
committal. Ab to their power of 7ii$»ing — that also is an 
Hiided question. In regard to their manner of biting we 

speak with more confidence. They never attack a man 
out first coiling tbemEelves in a graceful manner, and ia- 
1 of jumping they merely extend their bodies, with the 
bness of thought, towards their mark, and if they do not 
h it, they have to coil themselves again for a second effort, 
when they bit a man at all, it is generally on bis heel, for 
iruising of which they have the authority of the Scriptures, 
iOUgh they possess the power of inflicting almost instonta- 
13 death, they seldom attack man excepting in self-defence. 
n about to bite, their eyes sparkle like fire, their bodies 
me bloated with rage, their heads and necks alternately 
;n and distend, and their lips contract and expand, so that 
' appearance is then most horrible. 
at while the rattlesnake is a formidable enemy to man, the 



&ATTLB8NAKB8. 



263 



deer and the blacksnake seem to be at enmity with him. When- 
ever a buck discovers a rattlesnake in a situation which invites 
an attack, he loses no time in preparing for battle. He ap- 
proaches to within ten or twelve feet of the snake, then leaps 
forward and aims to sever the body with his sharp hoofs. The 
first onset is commonly successful ; if otherwise, the buck re- 
peats the trial till he cuts the snake in twain. The rapidity 
and fatality of his skilful manoeuvre leave but a slight chance 
for his victim either to escape or inject poison into his more 
alert antagonist. 

The rattlesnake also finds a dreaded opponent in the black- 
snake. Such is its celerity of motion, not only in cunning, but 
entwining itself around its victim, that the rattlesnake ha« no 
way of escaping from his fatal embrace. When the black and 
rattlesnakes are about to meet for battle, the former darts for- 
ward at the height of his speed, and strikes at the head of the 
latter with unerring certainty, leaving a foot or two of the up- 
per part of the body at liberty. In an instant he encircles him 
in five or six folds ; he then stops and looks the strangled and 
gasping foe in the face, to ascertain the efiect produced upon 
his corseted body. If he shows signs of life, the coils are mul- 
tiplied, the operator all the while narrowly watching the coun- 
tenance of the helpless victim. Thus the two remain some 
thirty minutes, when the executioner slackens one coil, noticing 
at the same time whether any signs of life appear ; if so, the 
coil is resumed and retained, until the incarcerated snake is 
entirely lifeless. 

The rattlesnake is peculiar to the American continent. Four 
varieties alone are known to naturalists, three of which are 
found in the United States, and one in South America. In the 
States bordering on the Gulf of Mexico, they attain the length 
of seven and eight feet, and a diameter of three or four inches ; 
the males having four fangs, and the females only two. These 
are characterized by a kind of diamond figure on the skin, and 
are partial to the low or %ottom lands of the country. Those 
found in the Middle and Korthern States are called the common 
or banded rattlesnakes, and are altogether, the most abundant 



264 EAaTTLaSHAKBS. 

in the Union. They rary in length from two and a half to four 
feet, and are partial to mountainous and rocky districts. There 
is also a very small^ hut most dangerous rariety, called the 
ground rattlesnakes, which are found on the sterile and sandy 
prairies of the West, and to a limited extent in the barren dis- 
tricts of the South. In Canada they are almost unknown, and 
even in the more thickly settled States of the Union, they are 
rapidly becoming extinct. As to their value, it may be stated, 
that their oil and gall are highly prized in all sections of tho 
Union, for medicinal purposes, and by the Indians and slare 
population of the South, their flesh is frequently employed as 
an article of food, and really considered sweet and nourishing. 
The attachment of the Aborigines to this famous reptile is 
proverbial : among nearly all the tribes, even at the present 
day, it is seldom disturbed, but is designated by the endearing 
epithet of grandfather. It is recorded, however, by the early 
historians, that when one tribe desired to challenge another to 
combat, they were in the habit of sending into the midst of their 
enemy the skin of a rattlesnake, whereby it would appear to 
have been employed as an emblem of revenge. And as to the 
origin of the rattlesnake, the old men among the Gherokees 
relate a legend to the following effect, which, the reader will 
notice, bears a striking analogy to the history of our Saviour. 
A very beautiful young man, with a white face, and wrapped 
in a white robe, onee made his appearance in their nation, and 
commanded them to abandon all their old customs and festivals, 
and to adopt a new religion. He made use of the softest lan- 
guage, and everything that he did proved him to be a good 
man. It so happened, however, that he could make no friends 
among them, and the medicine men of the nation conspired to 
take away his life. In many ways did they try to do this — ^by 
lashing him with serpents and giving him poison, but were al- 
ways unsuccessful. But in process of time the deed was accom- 
plished, and in the following manner. It was known that the 
good stranger was in the habit of da% visiting a certain spring, 
for the purpose of quenching his thirst and bathing his body. 
In view of this fact, the magicians made a very beautiful war- 



BAttUSNAKBS. 265 

dnhy inlaid ?rith bone and shells, and decorated vitK rattles, 
and this blab they offered to the Great Spirit, with the prayer 
that he woold teach them how to destroy the stranger. In an-. 
swer to the prayer, a venomons snake was created and carefully 
hidden nnder a leaf by the side of the spring. The stranger, 
as nsaal, came there to drink, was bitten by the snake, and 
perished. The Cherokee nation then fell in love with the snake, 
and having asked the Great Spirit to distinguish it, by some 
pecnliar mark, from all the other snakes in the world, he com- 
plied, by transferring to its body the rattles which had made 
the club of sacrifice so musical to the ear, and so beautiful to 
the eye. And from that rattlesnake are descended all the 
poisonous snakes now scattered through the world. 

We commenced this article with the determination of not 
writing a single paragraph (for the above legend, after a fash- 
ion, is historical,) which could be classed with the unbelieving 
things called ^^ Snake Stories," but the following matter-of-fact, 
though disconnected anecdotes, may not be nnacceptable to our 
readers. 

We were once upon a fishing expedition among the mountains 
of North Carolina, with two other gentlemen, when it so hap- 
pened that we conceded to spend the night in a deserted log 
cabin, belonging to one of the party. By the light of a large 
fire, we partook of a cold but comfortable supper, and after 
talking ojnrselves into a drowsy mood, we huddled together on 
the floor, directly in front of the fire-place, and were soon in a 
sonnd sleep. About midnight, when the fire was out, one of the 
party was awakened by a singular rattling noise, and having 
roused his companions, it was ascertained beyond a doubt, that 
there were two rattlesnakes within the room where we were ly- 
ing. We arose, of course, horrified at the idea, and as we were 
in total darkness, we were afraid even to move, for fear of being 
bitten. We soon managed, however, to strike a light, and when 
we did so, we found one of our visitors on the hearth, and the 
other in the remotest comer of the room. We killed them, of 
course, with a most hearty relish, and in the morning another 
of the same race, just without the threshold of the cabin.. The 
. VOL. n.- 



266 RATTLBSNAKE8. 

reptiles had probably left the cabin just before our arrival, and 
on returning at midnight, had expressed their displeasure at 
our intrusion upon their abode, by sounding their rattles. 

On another occasion we were of a party of anglers who killed 
a rattlesnake on one of the mountains overlooking Lake George, 
(where this reptile is very abundant,) and after its head had 
been cut off and buried, one of the party affirmed that there 
was not a person present who could take the dead snake in his 
hand, hold it out at arm's length, and give it a sudden squeeze, 
without dropping it to the ground. A wager was offered, and 
by the most curious and courageous of the party was accepted. 
He took the snake in his hand and obeyed the instructions, 
when the serpen tine body suddenly sprang, as if endowed with 
life, and the headless trunk struck the person holding it, with 
considerable force upon the arm. To add that the snake fell to 
the ground most suddenly, is hardly necessary. We enjoyed Si 
laugh at the expense of our ambitious friend, but the phenome- 
non which he made known, remains to this day unexplained. 
Since that time we have been led to believe that there is not 
one man in a thousand who would have the fortitude to succeed 
in the experiment above mentioned. 

A paper recently read before the Boston jSociety of Natural 
History, by Dr. W. J. Burnett, on the character and habits of 
the rattlesnake, contains among others, the following interest- 
ing particulars. The Doctor had been experimenting on two 
or three specimens of this animal, and announces the discovery 
of numerous embryo poisonous fangs in the jaws of tho snake, 
immediately behind the outward fangs. The use of these hid- 
den weapons of destruction appears to be, to supply the place 
of the biting fangs of the serpent, when they get broken off or 
worn out in service. It also appears that the long fangs, (two 
in number,) which are used in inflicting the deadly bite of the 
rattlesnake, are naturally shed every few years, when they are 
not injured by accident or wear, and the reserve fangs are suffi- 
ciently numerous to meet the worst emergencies. From minute 
microscopical examination of the structure of these teeth, Dr. 
B. concludes that there are two canals in each fang, only one 



KATTLHHAEES. 26T 

tbe poison to the wound. Beepecting the 
aison itself, the Doctor remarks as follows : 
reason to believe that its action is the same 
ngs, vegetables aa well as animals. It is even 
be snake itself aa to other animals, for one 
have heard of, after being irritated and an- 
in moving suddenly, accidentally struck one 
its own body, when it soon rolled over and 
r animal would have done. Here, then, we 
,ble, and perhaps unique pifyaiological fact, 
I directly from the blood, which proves deadly 
uto the very source (the blood) from which it 

itinize, by the aid of a microscope, the opera- 
Y agent on the blood, Dr. Burnett stnpified 
of bis snakes, by drppping chloroform upon 

;hirty drops being allowed to fall on his bead, 
;be other, the sound of his rattle gradually 
a few minutes he was wholly under the agent. 
)itly seized behind the jam, with the thumb 
ngged from the cage, and allowed to partially 
9 state a second person held his tail, to pre- 
innd the arm of the first, while a third opened 
h a pair of forceps pressed the fang upwards, 
poison, which was received on the end of the 
le was then returned into the cage. 

extracted from the finger, for close micro* 
on. The smallest quantity of the poison be- 
;he blood between the glasses, a change was 
ived ; the corpuscles ceased to run together, 
nant, without any special alteration of struc- 
ippearanee was as though the vitality of the 
iddenly destroyed, exactly aa in death from 
grees also with another experiment performed 
:he whole mass of the blood appeared quite 

little coagnlable power. 



268 RATTLBSNAKBS. 

Dr. Burnett is of opimon, that the ply^siological action of the 
poison of a rattlesnake in animals is that of a most powerful 
sedative, acting through the blood on the nervous centres. He 
supports this position by the remarkable fact, thai ita full and 
complete antidotes are the most active stimulants, and alcohol, 
in the form of rum or whiskey, is the first. This remedy is 
well known at the South, and there are some twenty-five authen- 
tic casea -on record, proving that a person suifering from the 
bite of a rattlesnake, may drink from one to two quarts of clear 
brandy, and eveiftually recover. 



A WESTERN PIONEER, 



It was about twenty years ago, on a bright November morning, 
^t a large covered wagon, drawn by four horses, came to a 
halt in front of the ofSce of the Receiver of Money for the 
Public Lands in the village of Monroe, territory of Michigan. 
The wagon in question contained implements of husbandry, a 
plentiful stock of provisions, and all the household furniture of 
a family consisting of an old man and his wife, three sons, and 
two daughters; and their 'outside possessions were comprised in 
a small but miscellaneous herd of cows, oxen, sheep, and hogs. 
The head of this family was a New York farmer in indigent 
circumstances, who had conceived the idea of making himself 
a home in what was then the wilderness of Michigan. All the 
money he had in the world was one hundred dollars, and with 
this he purchased at the land-office a tract of eighty acres of 
uncultivated land, which he had never seen, but upon which he 
was about to locate with his family. The honest and indepen- 
dent deportment of this emigrant enlisted the feelings of the 
Receiver, and he accordingly extended an invitation to him and 
his party to spend the night under his roof. The invitation 
was accepted, and after a ^4ucid interval" of comfortable 
repose, and cheered by a warm breakfast, the emigrating par^ 
respectfully took leave of their entertainer, and started upon 
their dreary pilgrimage. • 

The distance they had to travel was one hundred and eighty 
miles. As the roads were new and rough, they plodded along, 
day after day, at a slow rate, and with much difficulty; took 
their meals in the open air, and spent their nights under a tent, 



i 



270 A WESTERN PIONEER. 

with only a few heavy quilts to protect them from the dampness 
of the ground While upon this journey they were overtaken 
by cold weather, and, in fording one of the many streams which 
crossed their route, the venerable emigrant had oHe of his legs 
frost-bitten, which resulted, after much delay and trouble in 
sending for a physician, in its amputation. His life was spared, 
however, and in due time, in spite of the calamity which had 
befallen them, the emigrants were encamped upon their '' land 
of promise." 

Having thus reached the end of their journey, the first thing 
to be done was to erect a suitable dwelling wherein to spend the 
winter; and, the father of the family having been rendered 
almost helplesss by his misfortune; the labor of building it 
devolved exclusively upon his sons, the youngest of whom was 
a mere boy. Animated by a most noble spirit, they fell to 
work without any delay, and in the course of ten days had 
accomplished their first task, and were the masters of a comfort- 
able log-cabin. It stood on the sandy knoll of an '^oak open- 
ing," and in the immediate vicinity of a sparkling rivulet. The 
only evidences of civilization which surrounded them were the 
stumps, and chips, and decaying branches which covered the 
site of their labors ; but the emigrants had a home, and though 
a rude and apparently comfortless one, they were satisfied, if 
not happy. 

The winter days passed rapidly away ; and, while the disabled 
emigrant did little more than keep himself warm by his huge 
wood-fire, his sons were felling the trees on every side, and 
doing their utmost to enclose their domain. And at night, 
when gathered at the evening meal, or in a circle around their 
hearth, and the newly-cut wood was hissing under the influence 
of the bright flame, they would talk over the pleasures of other 
days, experienced in a distant portion of the land^ and cherish 
the hope that the future had even more happiness in store. 
Within their cabin was to be found the spirit of genuine reli- 
gion, and as the hopeful music of woman's voice was there, and 
their hearts were bound together by the cords of a holy family 
love, they were indeed happy. 



;k 



A WESTBRN PIONEER. 



271 






%4"^ 



It wag now the spring-time of the year, a warmer tint was 
in the sky, and the wilderness was beginning to blossom 
like the rose. The birds were building their nests, and their 
sweet minstrelsy was heard throughout the air ; and there, too, 
was the tinkling of bells, for the cattle sought their food in the 
remote dells, and returned at the sunset hour, with their udders 
teeming full. The brush and waste wood of the '^girdled 
clearings" were gathered into heaps and burnt — in the daytime 
forming fantastic columns of smoke, and at night making the 
midnight darkness, save where the flame was particularly bril- 
liant, more profound. And then the plough was brought forth, 
and made to try its strength in turning up the virgin soil. Our 
emigrant friend has now entirely recovered from his late disas- 
ter, and, having manufactured for himself an artificial leg, he 
begins to think it time for him to lend a helping hand towards 
accelerating the improirements of his ^^farm." The smell of 
the ploughed field has given him a thrill of pleasure, and 
he determines to try what he can accomplish in the way of 
planting com. This effort proves successful, and, as he becomes 
accustomed to the use of his new member, he takes the lead in 
most of the farming operations, and thinks no more of his past 
sufferings than of the fact that he is what many people are 
pleased to term a poor man. 

As industry and virtue are almost invariably followed by 
prosperity, we must not wonder at the future career of our 
Western pioneer. Five years have passed away, and, as his 
crops have been abundant, we find him the possessor of half a 
thousand acres of valuable land instead of one hundred. He 
has also gathered the means to build himself a new frame house ; 
and, as the '^ harvest is past and the summer ended," his barns are 
filled to overflowing. On every side are spread out extensive 
fields, and his hired men may be counted by the dozen. They 
have gathered in the crops, and, after a brief furlough, a 
portion of them will take possession of the barns, and devote* 
themselves to the flail, while the remainder will enter some 
neighboring woodland with their axes, and proceed in their 
laborious work of destruction. Winter comes, and still the 
Bounds of the flail and the axe are heard in the barn and in the 



272 A WSSTBRN PIONBBR. 

• 

forest. The coldest of winds may blow, and the enow may fall 
60 as to bury the fences, but what matter ? The genius of health 
reigns supreme. All the day long, and at night, huge fires are 
blazing in the dwelling of the pioneer ; his larder is filled with 
an abundance of the good things of life, and his numerous 
cattle are more comfortably housed than himself when he first 
came into the wilderness. Spring has returned once more, and 
a new life has not only been instilled into the earth, but also 
into the blood of man. 

It is now the delightful season of midsummer, and we see 
before us, basking in the sunshine, a domain of two thousand 
acres of land, in the highest state of cultivation. Capping the 
summit of a hill stands a spacious and elegant mansion, sur- 
rounded with outhouses, and bespeaking the possessor to be a 
man of opulence and taste. In one direction, fading away to 
a great distance, lie a succession of fields waving with golden 
grain; in another, hill beyond hill of the deep green and 
graceful corn ; in another we see a magnificent meadow, with 
hundreds of cattle and horses and sheep quietly grazing or 
sporting in their glee ; and in another direction an almost 
impenetrable forest, where the black-walnut, the white-wood, 
the oak, and the hickory strive to excel each other in the 
respective attributes of beauty and might. And this is tho 
home and the domain of the Western pioneer. Less than a 
mile distant from his mansion stands a charming village, from 
which arises a single spire, pointing to the Christian's home. 
The pastor of that church is the youngest son of our friend the 
pioneer. Within said village, too, may be seen an ^' Eagle 
Hotel," and a "New York Store," which are both the property 
of his two elder sons. At their expense, a public school has 
also been establishe*d within the village. The country around 
is intersected with good roads, along which the heavily-laden 
wain pursues its snail-like course, and the mail coach rattles 
, along with its panting horses, nine passengers on the inside, and a 
deep coating of dust on the boot and everything outside. Plenty 
and peace have taken possession of the land, and the pioneer 
of other days has become the nabob of the presenj^ time. 



PLANTATION CUSTOMS. 



We profefls to be neither a defender nor an advocate of 
alavery, but circumstanoes having brought us into frequent 
communication with the colored population of the Southern 
States, we have the satisfaction of knowing that our opinions, 
concerning their condition, whether correct or not, are the re- 
sult of personal observation. We do indeed consider the insti- 
tution an evil, but we consider the fanaticism of the North a 
much greater evil. By birth and education a Northern man, 
we willingly acknowledge that we started upon our first journey 
through the Southern States, harboring in our breast an un- 
reasonable number of prejudices against the institution already 
mentioned. The tables, however, are now completely turned. 
Aside from the abstract idea which has ever and will ever 
trouble us, we have seen but little to mourn over and regret, 
but rather observed much, touching the happiness of the negro 
and especially his customs, which we cannot but commend and 
admire. Instead of commenting upon these customs in a gene- 
ral manner, we propose to give an idea of them by describing 
two specimens — ^the negro manner of spending the Christmas 
Holidays, and the prominent features of one of their Com 
Huskings. * 

The scene of our first description is a plantation in the inte- 
rior of South Carolina. Within hailing distance of the planter's 
mansion is a collection of picturesque cabins, where are domi- 
ciled his negroes, numbering in all about one hundred souls. 
It is early morning and the day before Christmas. The slaves 
have obtained their accustomed holiday, which is to last until 



274 PLANTATION CUSTOMS. 

the close of the year, and they are now on the point of carry- 
ing to the market of some neighhoring town the products they 
may have obtained from their allotted plots of ground during 
the bygone season. All the means of conveyance belonging to 
the plantation have been placed at their disposal, and the day 
has arrived when they are to receive in hard money, or mer- 
chandise, the fruit of their own industry, irrespective of their 
obligations to their masters. The excitement among them is 
unusual, and is participated in by all — ^men, women, and chil- 
dren. All things being ready, the sable fraternity are upon 
the move, and as they enter upon a road winding through a 
succession of picturesque woods, we will glance at some of the 
characters belonging to the cavalcade. The leader thereof is 
probably the most industrious and frugal of the whole brother- 
hood, and he is taking to market, in a double wagon drawn by 
two horses, some two or three bales of cotton, which he will 
dispose of for one hundred and fifty dollars. The next vehicle 
is also a wagon, and in it are two or three old women, who 
have under their especial protection an assortment of poultry 
which it is their intention to exchange with the village merchant 
for any little conveniences that they may need, or any fancy 
articles that they may desire. Directly behind these we have 
a noisy party of girls and boys, who are footing their way to 
market more for the frolic or freedom of the thing than any 
desire to obtain money, albeit we doubt not that some of the 
boys may have stowed away in one of the wagons an occa- 
sional fox or coon skin which have accidentally come into their 
possession by means of their cunningly-devised traps. In an- 
other wagon, drawn by a pair of mules, we notice a load of ar- 
ticles, including a supply of rudely-wrought agricultural imple- 
ments, a few bags of torn and other grain, and a neatly-dressed 
hog, with his hoofs pointing to the sky. We now have a vener- 
able negro, mounted upon an equally venerable horse, his only 
saddle consisting of a large bag of choice seeds, which he has 
been permitted to glean from his master's fields at the end of 
the harvest. And coming in the rear, is the miscellaneous 
portion of the procession, who ramble along, so far as their ap- 



PLANTATION CUSTOMS. 275 

pearance is concerned, somewhat after the manner of a party 
of bedlamites, bat as joyous and light-hearted as if they were 
the lords instead of the serfs of creation. And so much for the 
appearance of our friends on their way to market. 

The thousand and one incidents which occur at the town, in- 
teresting and unique as they are, we will leave to the imagina- 
tion of our readers. Towards the close of the day the party ' 
return to their cabins upon the plantation, and although some 
of the more indiscreet may have imbibed an undue quantity of 
the intoxicating beverage, the majority of them are as circum- 
spect in their deportment as could be expected. And then, on 
their arrival home, commences the long-anticipated frolic bf 
Christmas Eve. The banjoes and fiddles are brought forth, and 
devoting themselves most heartily to the pleasures of dancing, 
singing, and discussing the acquisitions made during the day, 
the hours of night are soon numbered, and the revelry is only 
concluded by the approach of day. 

Two hours after sunrise on Christmas morning they are all 
out of their beds and moving about with considerable activity, 
considering their loss of sleep, and a new order of things is 
about to occur. The house servants, and such of the field 
hands as think their services may be needed, place themselves 
■ in the way of the master and mistress of the plantation, and 
cheerfully perform any necessary work which may be allotted 
to them. This done, they return to their cabins, and plan the 
various means of enjoying themselves. Those old women, and 
others who are religiously disposed, jump into a wagon and 
drive to some neighboring church to hear the story of the Sa- 
viour, Others, who have relatives belonging to another plan- 
tation, start ofi" upon a friendly visitation. Some, who have a 
passion for shooting, and have either borrowed or purchased 
the necessary fusees, depart upon an excursion into the woods ; 
while others, who are particularly covetous, and have already 
experienced the satisfaction of owning a little property, remain 
about the premises for the purpose of acconiplishing some newly- 
conceived scheme, which will most likely result at no distant 
day in their purchasing their freedom. As Christmas is passed, 



276 PLANTATION CUSTOMS. 

80 are the remaining days of the week, an arrangement having 
been made among the negroes, that a portion of them should 
take turns with another portion, so that the necessary labor of 
the plantation might not be neglected. At the commencement 
of the year, the regular order of business is resumed upon the 
plantation, and so continues with occasional interruption until 
' another Christmas arrives, to the entire satisfaction, both of 
master and slave. 

The rural custom denominated com hu9hing or com shuck- 
ing^ is peculiar to the Southern States. It occurs at night, in 
the autumn of the year, is participated in by negroes alone, 
and has for its main object the husking and the gathering into 
barns of the yellow maize or corn. And the locality of our 
present description is a plantation in the State of Georgia. 

Intelligence having previously been circulated throughout 
the district, that a husking is to occur on a certain night, at a 
certain plantation, the first step is to prepare for the contem- 
plated meeting. The corn yielded by the present harvest is 
hauled in from the surrounding fields, and deposited in huge 
heaps, immediately around the crib or bam into which it is 
eventually to be deposited. The roof of the crib having been 
built so as to be easily removed, and for the purpose of allow- 
ing the corn to be thrown into the building from a considerable 
distance, it is accordingly transferred to some out-of-the-way 
place, there to remain until re-appropriated to its legitimate 
use' after the husking is ended. The next step is to bring to- . 
gether at convenient points around the barn and the stacks of 
corn, huge quantities of light wood, which is to be employed 
for the several purposes of tempering the night air, afibrding 
necessary light, and rendering the approaching scene as cheer- 
ful as poatible. And while all these preparations are being 
made by the men, others of quite as much importance are occu- 
pying the attention of all the women belonging to the planta- 
tion, whose business it is to prepare the feast which necessarily 
follows the husking ; while the children are probably spending 
their time in clearing away the rubbish from a level spot of 
ground in the vicinity of the bonfires, where it is more than 



PLANTATIOH CUSTOMS. 277 

probable ve may jet have the pleasure of witnessing a negro 
dance. 

Night has settled upon the world, and the whole space en- 
closed by the planter's mansion and his almost innumerable out- 
*1iouses, is filled with a hum of talking and laughing voices — 
the loud talking and the hoarse laughing of perhaps two hun- 
dred negroes, exclusive of women and children. The torch is 
now applied to the piles of dry wood, and by the brilliant light 
of the several fires the huakers move to their allotted places 
around the corn house and seat themselves upon the ground* 
They are divided into what might be termed four divisions 
(occupying or flanking the several sides of the house,) each one 
of which is '^ heeded** by one of the smartest men in the com- 
pany, wh«se province it is not only to superintend his division, 
and with the assistance of several boys to throw the corn, as it 
is husked, into the crib, but to take the lead in the singing which, 
among the blacks, always accompanies the business of husking 
com. A signal is given, and the whole party fall to work as 
if their very lives depended upon their handling a 'specified 
quantity of the white and yellow grain. At the same instant 
commences a mingled sound of shouting and singing voices, 
which presently swell into a loud and truly harmonious chorus, 
and the husking scene is in its prime. The very fires seem 
elated with the singular but interesting prospect which they 
illumine, and shoot their broad sheets of flame high into the 
' air. Song follows song, in quick succession, and in every di- 
rection piles of beautiful com seem to spring out of the earth 
as if by magic, and with the quickness of magic are transferred 
into the grealt receptacle, which is itself rapidly becoming filled. 
Kude indeed are the songs they sing, the words are improvised 
and the ideas are simple, but there is a pathos and hafmony in 
the chorus which fails not to delight the ear. Amusing stories 
are occasionally told, and then resoundeth far over the quiet 
fields sleeping in moonlight, boisterous peals of laughter. One, 
two, three, and perhaps four hours have elapsed, and it is now 
midnight, when the announcement is made by some patriarch 
of the company that the corn is all husked, and the crib is 



278 PLANTATION CUSTOMS. 

nearly full. Qpe more song is called for, during the singing 
of which the roof is replaced upon the corn house, and after 
congregating around the fires, partly with a view of comparing 
notes as to the amount of labor performed, but more especially 
for the purpose of drying the sweat from their sable faces, the * 
entire party of buskers move to the spacious kitchen attached 
to the planter's mansion. 

And here an entirely new scene presents itself to our view. 
Board tables have been spread in every available corner, and 
even in the more sheltered portions of the adjoining yard, and 
everywhere is displayed a most sumptuous entertainment, con- 
sisting not only of the substantial of life, strangely served up 
in the form of a thick soup, but abounding evtn in luxuries. 
Good whisky and perhaps peach brandy is supplied in* reasona- 
ble quantities, and the women, having finished their allotted 
duties, now mingle with the men, and the feasting company 
presents as merry and happy a picture of rural life as can well 
be imagined. Each negro devotes himself to his particular 
mess, and somewhat after the manner of the aborigines. Jokes 
of questionable elegance and delicacy are uttered to a consi- 
derable extent, and many compliments paid to the ^^liVraland 
magnarimou9 massa oh dis plantation." On such occasions, as 
might not be supposed, acts of decided impropriety seldom 
occur, and it is not often that a sufficient quantity of spirit is 
imbibed, either materially to injure the health or produce in- 
toxication. In this particular, even the " down-trodden " ♦ 
slaves, as they are called, may often set a worthy example for 
the imitation of those who occupy a more elevated rank in 
society. 

"We now come to describe the concluding scene of the corh- 
husking entertainment, which consists of a dance upon the spot 
cleared away by the boys in the vicinity of the late fires, which 
are replenished for further use. The scraping of fiddles and the 
thumping of banjos having been heard above the clatter of 
spoons^ soup'plateSj and gourds^ at the various supper tables, a 
new stampede takes place, and the musicians are hurried off to 
the dancing ground, as if this were deemed the climax of earthly 



PLANTATION CUSTOMS. 279 

• 

happiness. ^^ On with the dance, let joy be unconfined.*' But 
there seemeth no need of the poet's advice on the present occa- 
sion, for the sable congregation now assembled, seem animated 
with an almost frantic excitement. The dance is the famous 
'^ Virginia Reely*' and at least a hundred individuals have form- 
ed themselves in their proper places. No sooner do the instru- 
ments attain the necessary pitch, than the head couples dash 
into the arena, now slowly and disdainfully, now swiftly atid 
ferociously, and now performing the double shuffle or the pigeon- 
wing. Anon they come to a stand, while others follow, and go 
through the same fantastic performances, with the addition per- 
haps of an occasional leap or whirl. The excitement is becom- 
ing more intense than ever, and it is evident that those whose 
business it is to stand still, are actually dancing in their shoes. 
Louder than ever wails the music— order is followed by confu- 
sion — ^and in the madness of the dance there is no method. The 
brilliant watch-fires cast a ruddy glow upon the faces of the 
dancers, and when, as it sometimes happens, an individual 
chances to wander without the circle, his leaping and uncouth 
figure pictured against the sky, resembles more the form of a 
lost spirit than a human being. Music, dancing, shouting, leap- 
ing, and laughing, with other indescribable antics, are mingled to- 
gether in a most unique manner, constituting a spectacle only 
equalled by the midnight dances of painted savages. For hours 
does this frolic continue, and perhaps is only brought to an end 
.by the crowing of a cock, or the first glimpse over the eastern 
hills, of coming day. And then comes the breaking up of the 
assembly, so that by the usual breakfast hour, the negroes have 
reached the several plantations to which they belong, and after 
spending rather an idle day, a^re ready for any other hulking 
to which they may be invited, and which their masters will per- 
mit them to attend. 



DEATH IN THE WILDERNESS 



MiBWAT bet'Vf een the St. Louis River and Sandy Lake, in 
the territory of Minnesota, is to be* found one of the largest and 
most forbidding of tamarack swamps. It has always beenpa 
thing of dread, not only to the Indians, but also to the traders 
and voyageurs, for directly across its centre runs the portage 
trail leading from the waters of Lake Superior to those of the 
Upper Mississippi. For a goodly portion of the year it is 
blocked up with snow, and during the summer is usually so far 
covered with water as only occasionally to afford a little island 
of coarse vegetation. It is so desolate a place as to be unin- 
habited even by wild animals, and hence the pleasures of 
travelling over it are far from being manifold. In fact, the 
only way in which it can be overcome during the vernal months 
is by employing a rude causeway of logs for the more danger- 
ous places ; and as it happens to be directly on the route of & 
portage over which canoes and packs of furs are annually trans- 
ported to a considerable extent, we cannot wonder that it should 
frequently be the fcene of mishaps and accidents. We dis- 
tinctly remember to have seen evidences to prove this, when 
once crossing the swamp, for all along the trail were the skele- 
tons of canoes, which had been abandoned by their owners, to- 
gether with broken paddles and remnants of camp furniture. 
But the most interesting object that we witnessed in this re- 
mote corner of the wilderness was a rude wooden cross, sur- 
mounting a solitary grave. And connected with this grave 
is the following story, obtained from one who assisted at the 
burial. 






\ 

V 



DEATH IN THE WILDEBNESS. ^81 

It was a suinmer day, and many years ago, when a stranger 
made his appearance at the Sault St. Marie. He reported 
himself as coming from Montreal, and anxious to obtain a canoe 
passage to the head waters of the Mississippi. He was a French- 
man, of elegant address, and in easy circumstances, so far as 
one could judge from his stock of travelling comforts. His 
name and business, however, were alike unknown, and hence a 
mystery attended him. Having purchased a new canoe and a 
comfortable tent, he secured the services of four stalwart Chip- 
peways, and started upon his western pilgrimage. He sailed 
along the southern shore of Lake Superior, and as its unique 
features developed themselves to his view one after another, he 
frequently manifested the gratification he experienced in the 
most enthusiastic manner, thereby increasing the mystery which 
surrounded him. Wholly unacquainted with the language spo- 
ken by his companions, he could only converse with them by 
signs ; and though they could not relate to him the traditions 
associated with the sandstone cliiTs, mountains, and beautiful 
islands which they witnessed, they did everything in their power 
to make him comfortable. They entered his tent and built his 
watch-fire at night, supplied him with game and fish, and, dur- 
ing the long pleasant days, when skimming over the blue waters, 
entertained him with their romantic but uncouth songs. In 
due time, they reached the superb and most picturesque St. 
Louis River, surmounted its waterfalls by means of many por- 
tages, entered and ascended one of its tributaries, and finally 
drew up their canoe at the eastern extremity of the portage 
leading over the tamarack swamp. 

The spot where the voyageurs landed was distinguished for 
its beauty, and as they arrived there in the afternoon, they 
concluded that a better place could not be found to spend the 
jiight. The tent of the stranger was therefore erected, and 
while the Indians busied themselves in preparing the evening 
m.eal, the former amused himself by exploring the immediate 
vicinity of the encampment. He wandered into a neighboring 
swamp, for the purpose of obtaining a few roots of the sweet 
fiag^ of which he was particularly fond, and on his return to 

VOL. n.- 



THE CANADIAN RECLUSE. 



Of the many singular characters which we have met with in 
our various travels, we remember none with n^pre pleasure, and 
even wonder, than the hero of this chapter. In company with 
three friends, we were upon a fishing cruise along the northern 
shore of the river St. Lawrence, above the Saguenay, and hav- 
ing on a certain afternoon steered our little craft into a cove at 
the mouth of a brook, for the purpose of obtaining /resh water, 
we were surprised to find ourselves in the immediate neighbor- 
hood of a rude but comfortable log cabin. Curiosity led us to 
visit the cabin, and introduce ourselves to the proprietor. We 
did so, and were not only warmly welcomed, but were invited 
^f^ tarry with our new acquaintance until the next day, and, 
* ^^ not accepted the invitation, the following particulars 
would not no^te made public. 

ine individuaA' under consideration was a Frenchman, and a 
native of Quebec. \ He was above the medium height, about 
forty years of age, 'gr^eful in his manners, active in mind and 
body, and altogether ju^a the character to rivet the attention of 
the most casual observer.V He was wholly ignorant of the world, 
having never been out olf his native city, excepting when he 
took up his abode in this ott-of-the-way corner of the country, 
where, at the time we met viVth him, he had been secluded for 
nearly twenty years. He hlad a wife (but no children,) who 
was as much like himself in Lppearance and character as na- 
ture could weU allow her to b^e. He was illiterate, but possessed 
an attachment to botany whftich was truly remarkable. His 
cabin had only two lower roocLs and one garret, and yet the 



THE CAKADUN RBCLUSB. 285 

bedt of the three was exclusively appropriated to a collection of 
plants, gathered from the neighboring hills and mountains, and 
numbering several hundred varieties, together with large moose 
horns, furs, and other forest curiosities. He knew not the generic 
name of a single specimen, and yet 4ie could expatiate upon 
their beauty in the most interesting manner, showing that he 
loved them with intense affection. To the discovery and culti- 
vation of plants he told, us he was in the habit of devoting more 
than half of his time, whereupon we asked him from what source 
he obtained his living. He informed us that, having inherited 
the large tract of land upon which he resided, he had come here 
for the purpose pf getting a living out of that. On casting our 
eyes about, and finding nothing for them to rest upon but moun- 
tains of solid rock, where even pine trees hardly had the cou- 
rage to grow, we thought his reply somewhat mysterious. He 
smiled at our perplexity, and then told us that he had two or 
three profitable salmon fishing-grounds *within a mile of his 
house, which were rented to Quebec fishermen, and yielded him 
all the necessaries of life, and that he obtained his fresh meats 
with his own hands from the forest. 

* Had we been inclined to doubt any of the assertions of our 
friend in regard to his good living, all such doubts would have 
been most assuredly dispelled by what we witnessed and en- 
joyed before closing our eyes on the night in question. Having 
taken us to the fishing-ground lying nearest to his cabin, for 
the purpose of letting us see how the salmon were taken in the 
circular set nets (into which they swam on their way up stream 
when the tide was high, and from which they were taken by 
hundreds when the tide was low,) he picked out a splendid 
twenty pound fish, and piloted us back again to his dwelling. 
He then excused himself from further waiting upon us, and 
begging us to amuse ourselves by examining his plants^ or doing 
anything else we pleased, he informed us that he must assist 
his wife in preparing our supper. We bowed our most willing 
assent, and as the sun was near setting, we ascended a neigh- 
boring knoll for the purpose of enjoying the extensive prospect 
which presented itself to view. 



286 THK CANADIAN BECLUSE. 

We were looking towards the south, and across that portion 
,of the noble St. Lawrence where it is without an island, and 
its shores are twenty-five miles apart. The retinue of clouds 
around the setting sun were remarkably brilliant, and were dis- 
tinctly mirrored on tbe tranquil bosom of the river* In the 
distance we could barely discover the southern shore, forming a 
long narrow line of purple ; about a dozen miles to the eastward 
one solitary ship lay floating, at the mercy of the tide, and in 
the foreground was the cabin of our entertainer, partly hidden 
from our view by a few stunted trees, and apparently hemmed 
in by inaccessible mountains, while before the cabin lay extended 
some half-dozen immense mongrel dogs, which were the only 
living creatures, besides ourselves, tending to animate the lonely 
scene. Silently communing with our own hearts, we watched 
with peculiar interest the coming forth, one after another, of 
the beautiful stars, and we could not but think of bur distant 
homes, and of the ties^hich bound us to the absent and loved. 
One moment more, and we heard a loud halloo, which came 
from the lungs of our Canadian friend, who informed us that 
supper was ready, whereupon we descended to the cabin at a 
pace bordering upon a run. • 

And such a supper ! Our host presided ; and while two of 
his guests were seated on either side, the hostess occupied the 
opposite end of the table from her husband. She could not 
speak a word of English, and of course uttered all her apologies 
in French ; and though the husband pretended to talk English, 
we begged him to remember that his guests all understood 
JPrench, and that he had better converse as nature dictated. 
JNo objections were made, and we proceeded to business. The 
.table was literally loaded ; and, whilst the matron poured out 
.a capital cup of coffee, the host overwhelmed the plates of his 
^guests with various kinds of meat, most of which were fried or 
^broiled almost to a crisp. We gave vent to our curiosity by 
inquiring the names of the dishes we were eating. From this 
moment, until the truly delicious feast was ended, the talking 
was all performed by the Canadian botanist, and the substance 
of .his remarks may be stated as follows : — 



THE CANADIAN RBCLUSE. 287 

^^ That meat, in the blue platter, gentlemen, was cut from 
the hind-quarters of the biggest black bear ever seen among tl^e 
mountains. He weighed over four hundred pounds, and was as 
savage as he was fat and big. I was climbing along the edge 
of a hill, about a week ago, for the purpose of securing a small 
yellow flower that I had discoyere4 hanging from a rock, when 
the bear in question came running out of the mouth of his den, 
and saluting me with a long scratch on the back, J gave him a 
stab in the belly, and tumbled myself down the offset in the 
most hasty manner imaginable. I always take my gun with 
me when I go into the woods, and when I reached the bottom 
of the hill I looked out for the bear, and, discovering him on a 
stump some twenty yards off, I gave him a shot, and he made 
at me with the fires of revenge. and rage in his eye. I climbed 
np a small tree, and while the rascal made an unsuccessful at- 
tempt to follow me, I reloaded my gun, and sent another charge 
directly into his mouth, which gave him a bad cough, and in a 
short time he staggered a few paces from the tree, and fell to 
the ground quite dead. / then went back to the cliff to secure 
my yellow flower J and during that afternoon, by the aid of my 
pony, dragged the bear to my cabin. 

'^ In that dish, with a piece broken from the edge, gentlemen, 
you have a mixture of moo%e tongiie, moose lip^ and moose brains. 
I spent nearly a month moose-hunting last winter, in company 
with a couple of Indians, and though the snow was deep, the 
crust hard, our snow-shoes in good order, our dogs brave and 
strong, and moose were numerous, wet only killed about sixteen. 
I only brought home the heads (while the Indians were satisfied 
with the skins and haunches ;) but I was more than paid for all 
my trouble, in the way of hard travelling and cold sleeping, 
for, in one of the moose-yards that we visited, I found a speci- 
men of pine which I had never seen before. It was very soft 
and beautiful, and I think the book men of England would give 
a good deal of money if they could have it in their great 
gardens. 

^^As. to that meat in the white dish, which you all seem to 
eat with such a relish, I think you will be surprised to learn 



288 ^ THE CANADIAN BBGLUSE. 

that it is nothing but heaver* 9 tail. To m j taste it is the sweetest 
njeat in the world, and I am only sorry that this valuable ani- 
mal is becoming so very scarce in this section of country. My 
present stock of beaver's tail came from the shore of Hudson's 
Bay, and, though I bought it of an Indian, I had to pay him 
as much for the tails as the fur company paid him for the skins 
of his animals. I never trapped for beaver myself, but I have 
for otter, an(^ often have great sport in killing seals, which are 
very abundant in the St. Lawrence, and afford to the Indians 
pretty good food during the hard winters. The .only thing that 
I have against the beaver is, that he has a fashion, I am told, 
of cutting dovmfor hi$ hotise such beautiful trees as the birch, 
mulberry^ willotVj and poplar^ before they are half grown. 

^^ As to the salmon upon which you have been feasting, gen- 
tlemen, you know as much about that particular individual as I 
do, since you saw him while in his native element. The men 
who hire my fishing grounds pay me so much for every fish 
they take, and sell them at a great profit in Quebec, and even in 
Montreal. From the fisheries on this shore the people of Canada 
are exclusively supplied with salmon, and when we have had 
a good season our merchants manage to send over to the United 
States, in a smoked condition, a good many thousand. As to 
taking them with those pretty little flies, which you gentlemen 
always carry in your pocket-books, I never could understand 
how you manage to deceive so sensible a fish as the salmon. 
Of one thing I am certain ; if you expect to take any of the 
salmon in this region with those little lines and hooks, you will 
be much mistaken. You will have to go down to the Saguenay, 
where I am told the fish do not know any better than to be 
deceived by your cunning arts. But if I were ever to follow 
fishing as you do, it seems to me that ins^ad of red, yellow, 
and blue feathers, I should cover my hooks with the bright ber- 
ries and buds which you may find upon some trees even during 
the fishing season.'' 

This last remark of our host convinced us that he was indeed 
possessed with a ruling passion, and we of course gratified our- 
selves by humoring him to the length of our patience. He not 



THE CANADIAN RECLUSE. « 289 

only monopolized the conversation during supper, but he did 
most of the talking until bed-time. We spent the night under 
his roof, sleeping upon bear-skins, spread on the floor ; and 
after an early breakfast, we bade him adieu, and pursued our 
course down the St. Lawrence. 



TRIP TO WATCH HILL. 



Once on a time just as the sun had risen above the eastern 
hills, which look down upon the Thames, at Norwich, Connecticut,- 
the prettiest sail-boat of the place left her moorings, and with a 
pleasant northerly breeze started for the Sound. Her passen- 
gers consisted of six gentlemen, all equipped in their sporting 
jackets, and furnished with fishing tackle, and their place of des- 
tination was Watch Hill, which is a point of land in Rhode Island, 
extending into the Atlantic, a few miles from Stonington. We 
• were on a fishing frolic, as a matter of course ; and a happier 
company, I ween, were never yet afloat, for the sport of a 
morning breeze. What with the story, the jest, the iced 
lemonade and exquisite cigar, the minutes glided by as swiftly 
and unobserved as the tiny waves around us. Now we met a 
solitary fisherman, towing for bass, and as we hailed him with 
a friendly shout, and passed by, he began to talk in an under 
tone, and his voice did not die away until we had turned a point. 
What would I not give for an accurate record of that old man's 
life ! Anon, we witnessed the Smoothing picture of a well-conduc- 
ted farm, with its green-girt cottage, spacious hams, neat and 
flowing fields, and its horses and oxen, cows, sheep, hogs, and 
poultry. Now we saw some noble men, such as Vernet de- 
lighted to paint, hauling the seine, and, as the '^ fruit of all their 
toir' were thrown upon the sand, their flipping forms reflected 
back the sunlight, reminding us of — anything the reader may 
be pleased t% imagine. Now, we were overtaken and tossed 
about by a steamer bound to New Haven ; and then we sailed 
in company with a boat, a sloop, and schooner ; meeting others 



TRIt TO WATCH HILL. • 291 

beating up, from Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. And 
the termination of this pleasing panorama was composed of 
Gale's Ferry, the commanding town, fort, and momument of 
Groton, together with the city of New London, among whose 
anchored shipping floated the saucy Revenue Gutter, and at 
whose docks were chained a goodly number of storm beaten 
whalers. 

Having taken in "our stores,'^ and obtained from the fish- 
market a basket of bait, we again hoisted sail, " bound first to 
Commit Rock," and " binding" ourselves to capture all of the 

watery enemy which might tempt the power or dexterity of our 

* 

arms. 

When about three miles from New London, all eyes were 
attracted by a beautiful crafl on our lee, laden with a party of 
ladies and gentlemen. "They're going towards a reef !" ex- 
claimed our captain ; and no sooner* had the words escaped his 
lips, than the stranger struck, and stove a* hole through her 
bottom. We were just in time to save the party from a watery 
grave ; and when we had landed them in safety on the beach, we 
were well repaid for our trouble by the consciousness of having 
done a good act, and by the thankful words and benignant 
smiles of the ladies fair. A dozen minutes more and we were' 
within oar's length of the fishing rock. • " All ashore, that's 
coming !" shouted our mate as he stood on the rock, when we 
all leaped out, and plenty of line being given her, the boat 
swung to, and " like a cradled thing at rest," floated upon the 
waves. Then commenced the sport. The breeze was refresh- 
ing, and the breath of the salt sea-foam buoyed up our spirits 
to a higher pitch, and- gave new vigor to our sinews. The 
yx)ungest of the party was the first who threw his hook, which 
was snapped in the twinkling of an eye. Another trial, and a 
four-pound blackfish lay extended upon the rock. Another and 
another, until four-score, even-numbered, came following after. 
Tired of the sport, two of the party entered the boat, and 
hoisted sail for a little cruize. Half an hour had elapsed, 
when the steady breeze changed into a gale, capsizing within 
hailing distance a fishing boat with two old men in it. Hang- 



292 TRIP TO WATCH MLL. . 

ing on, as they were, to the keel of the hoat, (which having no 
ballast, could not sink^) their situation was extremely danger- 
ous, as there was not a vessel within two miles. The poor men 
beckoned to us to help them ; but as our boat was gone, we 
could not do so. For one long hour did they thus hang ^^ mid* 
way betwixt life and death," exposed to the danger of being 
washed away by the remorseless surge, or swallowed up, as we 
' were afterwards told, by a couple of sharks, which were kept 
away only by the hand of Providence. This incident. tended 
to cool our ardor for fishing, and as we were satisfied with that 
day*s luck, we put up our gear, during which time the boat ar- 
rived, and we embarked for the Hill. We made one short turn 
however, towards the boat which had picked up the fishermen, 
as we were anxious to tell them why we did not come to their 
relief. We then tacked about, and the last words we heard from 
our companions were : " Thank you — thank you — God bless you 
all," and until we^ad passed a league beyond Fisher's Island, 
our' little vessel ^' carried a most beautiful bone between her 
teeth." 

At sunset we moored our little boat on the Eastern shore of 
Paucatuck Bay. On ascending to the Watch Hill hotel, we 
found it to be a large, well-furnished house, and our host to be 
a fat and jolly Falstdff-ish sort of man, just suited to his station. 
At seven o'clock we sat down to a first rate blackfish supper, 
then smoked a cigar, and while my companions resorted to the 
bowling alley, I buttoned up my pea-jacket, and sallied forth 
on an ^^ exploring expedition." As I stood on the highest 
point of the peninsula, facing the south, I found that the light- 
house stood directly before me, on the extreme point, that a 
smooth beach faded away on either side, the left hand one 
being washed by. the Atlantic, and that on the right by the 
waters of Fisher Island Bay, and that the dreary hills in my 
rear were dotted by an occasional dwelling. The breeze had 
died away, and the bright, full moon was in the cloudless sky. 
Many sails were in the offing, and also the Providence and Ston- 
ington steamboats bound to New York. The scenery around 
me, and the loveliness of the sky, with its galaxy of stars, 



• TRrf TO WATCH HILL. 



298 



caused me to forget myself, and I wandered far away upon the 
shore now gazing with wonder and admir|ition into the cerulean 
vault of Heaven, or into«the still deeper blue of the mighty sea, 
and now repeating one of the sacred songs of the sweet singer 
of Israel. Now, a thousand images of surpassing loveliness 
darted across my vision, as I thought of God — of an eternal 
life in heaven — of love, divine and human ; and then there came 
a weight upon my spirit, as I remembered the powers of dark« 
ness, and the •miseries engendered by our evil passions. In 
that communion with the mysteries of the universe, strongly 
blended as they were, I felt that I could wander on without 
fflbigue, until the whole earth should be trodden by my pilgrim 
feet. But the chilly air and the fading night warned me to 
retrace my steps, and in an hour I had reached my home. 

When the sun arose from his ocean-bed on the following 
morning, surrounded hy a magnificent array of clouds, I was 
up, and busily engaged preparing for a day's fishing, — first, 
and before breakfast, for bluefish, then for blackfish, and lastly 
for bass. While my companions were asleep, I went out with 
an old fisherman, and by breakfast time had captured thirty 
bluefish, weighing about two pounds a piece. The manner of 
catching thfse is to tow for them with a long line, the bait 
being a piece of ivory attached to a strong hook. They are 
a very active and powerful fish, and wh^n hooked, make a great 
fuss, skipping and leaping out of the water. 

At nine o'clock our party were at anchor on a reef about one 
mile ofi*, and for the space of about two hours we hauled in the 
blackfish as fast as possible, many of them weighing eight to 
ten pounds a piece. For them you must have a small straight 
hook, and for bait, lobsters or crabs. A broiled blackfish, when 
rightly cooked, is considered one of the best of salt water deli- 
cacies. 

But the rarest of all fishing is that of catching bass, and a 
first-rate specimen I was permitted to enjoy. About eleven 
o'clock, I jumped into the surf-boat of an old fisherman, re- 
questing him to pull for the best bass ground with which he was 
acquainted. In the mean time my friends had obtained a large 



294 TRIP TO WATCH HILL. • 

boat, and were going to follow ns. The spot having been 
reached, we let our lv)at float, wherever the tide and wind im- 
pelled it, and began to throw over our lines, using for bait the 
skin of an eel six inches long. Those in the neighboring boat 
had fine luck, as they thought, having caught some dozen five- 
pounders, and they seemed to be perfectly transported because 
nearly an hour had passed and I had caught nothing. In their 
glee they raised a tremendous shout, but before it had fairly 
died away, my line was suddenly straightened, and I knew that 
I had a prize. Now it cut the water like a streak of lightning, 
although there were two hundred feet out, and as the fish re- 
turned I still kept it taut ; and after playing with him for 
about forty minutes, I succeeded in drowning him, then hauled 
up gradually, and with my boat hook landed him in the boat 
safe and sound. The length of that striped bass was four feet 
two inches, and his weight, before cleaned, fifty-eight pounds. 
You can easily imagine the chop-fallen appearance pf my bro- 
ther fishermen, when they found out that '' the race is not al- 
ways to the swift, nor the battle to the strong." At three 
o'clock in the afternoon, a piece of that fish tended to gratify 
the appetite which had been excited by his capture. 

Satisfied with our piscatorial sports, we concluded to spend 
the rest of the day quietly gathering shells upon the beach ; 
but causes of excitement was still around us. No sooner had 
we reached the water's edge, than we discovered a group of 
hardy men standing on a little knoll, in earnest conversation, 
while some of them were pointing towards the sea. '' To the boat ! 
to the boat !" suddenly shouted their leader, when they all 
descended with the speed of Swiss mountaineers, and on reach- 
ing a boat which had been made ready, they pushed her into 
the surf, and three of them jumped in, and thus commenced the 
interesting scene of hauling the seine. There was something 
new and romalntic to us in the thought, that the keen and intel- 
ligent eye of tnan could evien penetrate into the deep, so far as 
to designate the course of travel of the tribes of the sea. And 
when the seine was drawn, it was a glorious and thrilling sight 
to see those fishermen tugging at the lines, or leap into the surf^ 



• TRIP TO WATCH HILL. 295 

which sometimes completely coyered them, to secure the tens of 
thousands of fish which they had caught, There was a grace 
and heauty about the whole scene, which made me long for the 
genius of a Mount or Edmonds. 

A little before sunset, I was again strolling along the shore, 
when the following incident occurred. You will please return 
with me to the spot. Yonder, on that fisherman's stake, a little 
sparrow has just alighted, facing the main. It has been lured 
away from the green bowers of home by the music of the sea, 
and is now gazing, perhaps with feelings kindred to my own, 
upon this most magnificent structure of the Almighty hand. 
See ! it spreads its wing, and is now darting towards the water 
— fearless and free. Ah ! it has gone too near ! for the spray 
moistens its plumes ! There — ^there it goes, frightened back to 
its native woodland. That little bird, so far as its power and 
importance areconcemed, seems to me a fit emblem of the mind 
of man, and this great ocean an appropriate symbol of the mind 
of God. 

The achievements of the human mind ^' have their passing 
paragraphs of praise, and are forgotten." Man may point to 
the Pyramids of Egypt, which are the admiration of the world, 
and exclaim, ^^ Behold the symbol of my power and import- 
ance !*' But most impotent is the boast. Those mighty mys- 
teries stand in the solitude of the desert, and the glory of their 
destiny is fulfilled in casting a temporary shadow over the tent 
of the wandering Arab. 

The achievements of the Almighty mind are beyond the 
comprehensions of man, and lasting as his own eternity. The 
spacious firmamMit, with its suns, and moons, and stars ; our 
globe, with its oceans, and mountains, and rivers ; the regularly 
revolving seasons ; and the still, small voice continually ascend- 
ing from universal nature, all proclaim the power and goodness 
of their great original. And everything which God has created, 
from the nameless insect to the world of waters, — the highway 
of nations, — ^was created for good, — to accomplish some omni- 
potent end. As this ocean is measureless and fathomless, so is 
it an emblem^ beautiful but faint, of that wonderful Being, 



296 TRIP TO WATOH HILL. 

whose throne is ahove the milky-way, and who is himself from 
everlasting to everlasting. But see, there is a heavy cloud 
rising in the west, the breeze is freshening, flocks of wild ducks 
are flying inland, and the upper air is ringing with the shrill 
whistle of the bold and wild sea-gull, whose home is the bound- 
less sea ; therefore, as my friend Noble has somewhere written, 
^'the shortest homeward track's the best.'' 

Still in the present tense would I continue. The witching 
hour of midnight has again returned. A cold rain-storm has 
just passed over, the moon is again the mistress of a cloudless 
sky, but the wind is still raging in all its fury. 

*' I view the ships that come and go, 
Looking so like to living things. 
! 'tis a proud and gallant show 
Of bright and broad-spread wings, 
Making it light aronnd them, as they keep 
Their course right onward through the unsounded deep." 

Dana. 

God be with them and their brave and gallant crews. But, 
again : 

" Where the far-off sand-bars lift 

Their backs in long and narrow line, 
The breakers shout, and leap, and shifl, 

And send the sparkling brine 
Into the air ; then rush to mimic strife ; 
Glad preatures of the sea, and full of life." — Ibid 

But I must stop quoting poetry, for as " a thing of beauty 
is a joy forever," I should be forever writing about the sea. 
Heavens ! what a terrible song is the ocean .singing, with his 
long*white hair streaming in the wind ! The waving, splash- 
ing, wailing, dashing, howling, rushing, and moaning of the 
waves is a glorious lullaby, and a fit prelude to dream of the 
sea. 

At an early hour on tBe following day, we embarked for 
home, but a sorry time we did have of it, for the winds were 
very lazy. We were ten hours going the distance of twenty- 
two miles. It was now sunset, and we were becalmed off Gale's 



TEIP TO WATCH HILL. 297 

Ferry. Ashore we went, resolved to await the coming of the 
Sag Harbor steamboat, which usually arrived about nine o'clock, 
and by which we were, finally, taken in tow. Snugly seated in 
our boat, and going at the rate of eighteen miles an hour, we 
were congratulating ourselves upon an early arrival home, and 
had already begun to divide our fish. But, alas ! at this moment 
the painter broke ; the steamer, unconscious of our fate, still 
sped onward, while we sheered off towards the shore, almost 
disgusted with human life in general — ^for our boat was large, 
and we had but one oar. But what matter 7 We were a jolly 
set, and the way we gave three cheers, as a prelude to the song 
of "Begone Dull Care," must have been startling to the thou- 
sand sleeping echoes of hill, forest, river, and glen. 

Having crept along at snails' pace about one mile, we con- 
cluded to land, and, if possible, obtain a place to sleep, and 
something to eat ; for not having had a regular dinner, and not 
a mouthful of supper, we were half starved. With clubs in our 
hands, to keep off hobgoblins and bull-dogs, we wended our 
way towards a neighboring farm-house, where we knocked for 
admittance. Pretty soon, a great gawky-looking head stuck 
itself out of an upper window, to which we made known our 
heartfelt desires, receiving, in return, the following answer : — 
" My wife is sick — hain't got any bread — ^you can go in the 
barn to sleep if you want to ;" and we turned reluctantly away, 
troubled with a feeling very nearly allied to anger. " Come, 
let's off in this direction," exclaimed one of the party, "and 
I'll introduce you to my old friend, Captain Somebody ;" — and 
away we posted, two by two, across a new-mown field. Pre- 
sently, our two leaders were awe-stricken by the sudden ap- 
pearance of something white, which seemed to be rising oilt of 
the earth, beside a cluster of bushes, and the way they wheeled 
about, and ran for the river, (accompanied by their fellows, 
whose fright was merely sympathetic,) was " a caution" to all 
unbelievers in ghosts and other midnight spectres. 

At last we halted to gain a little breath ; an explanation was 
made ; and our captain forthwith resolved to investigate the 
nuatter. He now took the lead, and on coming to the myste- 

voL. n. — u 



298 TRIP TO WATCH HILL. 

rious spot, discovered an old blind white horsey who had been 
awakened by the noise, and, following the instinct of his na- 
ture, had risen from his lair, to be better prepared for danger. 
I doubt whether the echoes are yet silent, which were caused 
by the loud and long peals of laughter which resounded to the 
sky. Being in a strange land, without chart or compass, we 
could not find the mortal dwelling-place of Captain Somebody, 
and so we changed our course of travel. 

We stopped at another house, farther on, but to save our 
lives we could not obtain an interview, although we entered the 
hen-coop, and set the hens and roosters a cackling and crow- 
ing — the pig-pen, and set the hogs a squealing — while a large 
dog and two puppies did their best to increase and prolong the 
mighty chorus. If our farmer friend did not deem himself 
transported to Bedlam, about that time, we .imagine that no- 
thing on earth would have the power to give him such a dream. 
Our ill-luck made us almost desperate, and so we returned to 
the boat, resolved to row the whole distance home, could we 
but find an extra oar. 

It was now eleven o'clock, and the only things that seemed 
to smile upon us were the ten thousand stars, studding the 
clear, blue firmament. Anon, a twinkling light beamed upon 
our vision; and, as we approached, we found it to proceed 
from a little hut on an island, where the Thames lamp-lighter 
and his boy were accustomed to pass the night, after their work 
was done. Having again concluded to land, we received a 
hearty welcome, as the host proved to be an old acquaintance 
of our captain and mate. " Have you anything to ^at V was 
almost the first question of every tongue. " No, nothing but 
this barrel of crackers, and some cheese," exclaimed the man 
of light. " And we," shouted one of our crew, " have plenty 
of fish, — can't we have a chowder ?" " Ay, ay ; a chowder, a 
chowder it shall be !" were the words which rang aloud to the 
very heavens. A wherry was dispatched to the main-land, to 
the well-known habitation of the old fisherman, for the neces- 
sary iron pot and bowls, and for the potatoes and onions, which 
were dug for the occasion ; also for the pork, the pepper, and 



TKIP TO VATCH HILL. 299 

added to our biscuit and black-fish, nicely 
)ared, constituted a chowder of the very first 
3S one addition to our company, in the person 
Dan ; and our appearance, as we were seated 
} floor, each with a bowl of thick hot soup in 
:uted a picture-rich and rare. After we were 
lowledged by all, that a better meal had never 

mortal man. In about thirty minutes from 
d one of the company bade ns " good night," 
it brotherhood resigned themselves to sleep. 
[ heard, before closing my eyes, were caused 
iposition steamboats from New York, as they 
at as " swift as an arrow from a quivering 

streak of daylight found us on board our boat, 
, wafted on by a pleasant southerly brcezo. 
r, we were all seated at our respective break- 
ig our adventures of the excursion just ended. 



A WEEK IN A FISHING SMACK. 



On a pleasant Monday morning, in other days, I started 
from Norwich, Connecticut, hound to New London, and from 
thence to any other portion of the world where I might have 
some sport in the way of salt-water fishing. In less than an 
hour after landing from the steamboat, I had boarded the hand- 
some smack Orleans, Captain Keeney, and by dint of much 
persuasion, secured a berth on board to accompany him on a 
fishing voyage. In addition to my previous preparation, I had 
only to purchase a Guernsey shirt and tarpaulin ; and by the 
time I was regularly equipped, the sails were hoisted, and we 
were on our course for Nantucket. An intimate acquaintance 
was soon formed between myself and crew, which consisted of 
the master, two sailors, and the cook. The whole time that I 
spent in their company was six days, as I reached home on the 
following Saturday evening. The incidents that I met with 
were somewhat new, as a matter of course, and I employed a 
few moments of every evening, during my absence, in briefly 
recording the events of the past day ; and that medley I now 
put together as a literary chowder. 

Monday Evening. My observations to-day have been limit- 
ed to our little vessel, in consequence of a dense fog, which 
drenched us to the skin, and seems likely to continue us in this 
state of preservation. I have obtained some information, how- 
ever, concerning the character of an interesting class of men, 
which may be new to you. Smack-fishermen are a brave, hardy, 
honest, and simple-hearted race, and, as my captain tells me, 
spend nine-tenths of their time ^'rocked izi the cradle of the 



A WBSK IN A FISHING SHACK. 801 

deep." Their vessels, or smacks, are generally of about forty 
tons burden ; the number of those which supply New York and 
Boston with fish is said to be near a thousand, and they are all 
^t home anywhere on the coast between the Kennebeck and the 
Delaware. Of the perils which these fishermen endure, and 
the privations they sufier, how little is known or thought by the 
great world at large ! Yet I believe there is as much genuine 
happiness in their lives, as in those of any other class. Their 
fathers were fishermen before them, and as they themselves 
have mostly been bom within hearing of the surf, they look 
upon the unsounded deep as their fitting home, their only home, 
and would not part with it for a palace or a crown. Four is 
the usual number o{ a smack's crew, and the master is invaria* 
bly called a skipper. Most of them are worthy husbands and 
fathers, whose families are snugly harbored in some convenient 
seaport, with enough and to spare of the good things of life. 
They are a jovial set of men, hailing each other upon the ocean 
as friends, and meeting upon land as brothers. Each skipper 
thinks his craft the handsomest and swiftest that floats, and 
very exciting are the races they sometimes run. Their affec- 
tion for their own vessel is like that of the Arab' for his steed, 
and like the Arab, too, they have been known even to weep 
over the grave of a favorite craft. 

The kinds of fish which they mostly bring to market are 
shad, salmon, lobsters, mackerel, cod, bluefish, haddock, black- 
fish, porgees, bass, and halibut. The first three are generally 
purchased of. local fishermen, but all the rest are caught by 
themselves. The haunts of the blackfish are rocky reefs, those 
of the bass and bluefish in the vicinity of sandy shoals or tide 
rips, and those of the remainder in about fifteen fathom water. 
These are the varieties they capture by way of business, but 
when in a frolicksome mood, they frequently attack a sword- 
fish, a shark, or black whale ; and thrilling, indeed, and laugh- 
able withal, are the yarns they spin concerning these exploits. 

As to their mode of living, while at sea, it is just what it 
should be, and what they, would have it, although it would be 
^^ positively shocking" to a Bond Street gentleman of leisure. 



302 A WEEK IN A FISHING SMAOK. 

» 

But they always possess a good appetite, which is what money 
cannot purchase, and without which the greatest delicacy in the 
world would be insipid or loathsome. Fish, sea-biscuit, corned 
beef and pork, potatoes, onions, and pancakes, constitute their 
provisions, and what besides these would a reasonable man de- 
sire ? It is with a mixture of some of these, that a chowder is 
concocted, and where can anything more delicious be found, 
oven at the tables of the Astor and Tremont ? And with these 
ingredients, moreover, they manage very well to keep body and 
soul together, unless a storm on a rock-bound coast happens to 
make a sudden separation. 

I have just been on deck, and must say that I resume my 
pen with a heavier heart. The fog has not dispersed in the 
least, a regular gale of wind is blowing from the north, and the 
waves, seemingly in a revengeful mood, are tossing our bark 
about, as if the skipper, like the Ancient Mariner, had shot 
another albatros. But like a fearless man, as he is, he stands 
at the helm, watching the sails with a steady eye, and the men 
with their storm-jackets on are standing by, muttering some- 
thing about the coming darkness, and a reef somewhere on our 
lee. Never before have I so distinctly understood the force of 
the Psalmist's simile, when he compares a wave to a drunken 
man reeling to and fro. Both have it in their power to cause 
a mighty mischief, and both become exhausted and perish, — 
one upon a sandy beach, and the other, sweeping over the pe- 
ninsula of time, finds a grave on the shore of eternity. Hea- 
vens ! how the wind whistles, and the waters roar ! Ay, but a 
still small voice do I hear, and I lay me down to sleep, with a 
prayer upon my lips, and a feeling of security at my heart, as 
I place implicit confidence in Him who holdeth the ocean in the 
hollow of his hand. 

Tuesday Evening. I was awakened out of a deep sleep this 
morning by the following salutation from the skipper, as he 
patted me on the shoulder. ^^It*s a beautiful morning, and you 
ought to be up ; — the fog is gone, and the wind is down ; won't 
you come up and take the helm awhile, so that the boys and I 
may obtain a little sleep before reaching the fishing-ground, 



\ 
\ 



A WBEE IN A FISHING SHACK. 303 

which will be about ten o'clock ?" I was delighted to accept 
the invitation, and in a very short time the sailors were asleep, 
and I in my new station, proud as a king, and happy as a boy. 
Would that I could describe the scene that fascinated my eyes 
as I lay there upon the deck, with one hand resting on the 
rudder, and my other hand grasping a Claude glass ! I felt as 
I once felt before, when standing on the famous precipice of 
^Niagara, that then, more than ever, I desired God to be my 
friend. I also felt, that I could remain upon the ocean forever. 
More earnestly than ever did I long for a complete mastery of 
the pictorial art. The fact of being out sight of land, where 
the blue element announced that the ocean was soundless, filled 
my soul with that " lone, lost feeling," which is supposed to be 
the eagle's, when journeying to the zenith of the sky. The 
sun had just risen above the waves, and the whole eastern por- 
tion of the heavens was flooded with exquisite coloring from the 
deepest crimson to the faintest and most delicate purple, from 
the darkest yellow to an almost invisible green ; and all blended 
in forms of marvellous loveliness. A reflection of this scene 
was also visible in the remaining quarters of the horizon, and 
it is before me now. Around me the illimitable deep, whose 
bosom is studded with many a gallant and glittering ship, 

that have the plain 



Of ocean for their own domain. 

The waves are lulling themselves to rest, and a balmy breeze is 
wandering by, as if seeking its old grandfather, who kicked up 
the grand rumpus last night ; whereby I learn, that the offspring 
of a " rough and stormy sire," are sometimes very beautiful 
and affectionate to the children of men. But look ! even the 
dwellers in the sea and of the sea are participating in the 
hilarity of this bright summer morning ! Here, a school of 
herring. are skipping along like a frolicsome party of vagabonds 
as they are, — and yonder a shark has leaped out of the water, 
to display the symmetry of his form and the largeness of his 
jaw, and looking as if he thought, " that land-lubber would 
make me a first rate breakfast;" there, a lot of porpoises are 



304 A WEEK IK A FISHING SMACK. 

playing "leap-frog/* or some ^ other outlandish gsme; and, a 
little beyond them, a gentleman sword-fish is swaggering along 
to parts unknown, to fight a duel in cold blood with some 
equally cold-blooded native of the Atlantic ; and now, a flock 
of gulls are cleaving their course high overhead, bound to the 
floating body perhaps of a drowned mariner, which their saga- 
city has discovered a league or two away: — and now, again, I 
notice a flock of petrels, hastening onward to where the winds 
blow and the waves are white. Such are the pictures I beheld 
in my brief period of command. It may h»ve been but fancy, 
but I thought my little vessel was trying to eclipse her former 
beauty and her former speed. One thing I know, that she 
"walked the water like a thing of life." I fancied, too, that 
I was the identical last man whom Campbell saw in his vision, 
and that I was then bound to the haven of eternal rest. But 
my shipmates returning from the land of Nod, and a certain 
clamor within my own body having caught my ear, I became 
convinced that to break my fast would make me happier than 
anything else just at that time, and I was soon as contented as 
an alderman at five P. M. About two hours after this, we 
reached our fishing-place, which was twenty miles east of Nan- 
tucket. We then lowered the jib and topsail, and having lufied 
and fastened the mainsheet, so that the smack could easily float, 
we hauled out our lines and commenced fishings baiting our 
hooks with clams, of which we had some ten bushels on board. 
Cod fishing (for we were on a codding cruize,) is rather dull 
sport ; it is, in fact, what I would call hard labor. In six hours - 
we had caught all the skipper wanted, or that the well would 
hold, so we made sail again, bound to New York ; and at sup- 
per-time the deck of our smack was as clean and dry as if it 
had never been pressed save by the feet of ladies. At sunset, 
however, a fierce southerly wind sprang up, so that we were 
compelled to make a harbor ; and just as I am closing this re- 
cord, we are anchoring ofi* Nantucket, with a score of storm* 
beaten whalers on our starboard bow. 

Wednesday Evening. The weather to-day has been quite 
threatening, and the skipper thought it best to remain at our 



A WEEK IN A FISHING SMACK. 805 

moorings ; but with me the day has not been devoid of interest ; 
for, in my sailor garb, I have been strolling about the town, 
studying the great and solemn drama of life, while playfully 
acting a subordinate part myself. This morning, as it happen- 
ed, I went into the public graveyard, and spent an hour con- 
ning over the rude inscriptions to the memory of the departed. 
In that city of the dead I saw a number of the living walking 
to and fro, but there was one who attracted my particular at- 
tention. He was a sailor, and was seated upon an unmarked 
mound, with his feet resting upon a smaller one beside it, his 
head reclined upon one hand, while the other wHs occasionally 
passed across his face, as if wiping away a tear. I hailed him 
with a few kind questions, and my answer was the following 
brief tale: — 

** Four years ago I shipped aboard that whaler, yonder, leav- 
ing behind me, in a little cottage of my own, a mother, a wife, 
and an only boy. They were all in >good health, and happy ; 
and, when we were under sail, and I saw from the mast-head 
how kindly they waved their handketchiefs beside my door, I, 
too, was happy, even in my grief. Since that time I have cir- 
cumnavigated the globe, and every rare curiosity I could obtain, 
was intended for my dear ones at home. Last Saturday our 
ship returned, when I landed, hastened to my dwelling, and 
found it locked. The flagging in my yard attracted my notice, 
and I thought it strange that the rank grass had been suffered 
to grow over it so thickly. The old minister passed by my 
gate, and running to him, I inquired for my family. * Oh, 
Mr. B.,* said he, * you must bless the Lord ; — he gave them to 
you, and he hath taken them away.' And as the thought struck 
me, my suffering, sir, was intense. And there they are, my 
wife and child, and, a step or two beyond, my poor old mother. 
Peace to their memories !" 

Such is the substance of the simple story I heard in the 
Nantucket graveyard, and I have pondered much upon the 
world of woe which must have been hidden in the breast of that 
old mariner. 

This island of Nantucket is in many particulars, an interest- 



306 A WEEK IN A FISHING SMACK. 

ing place. It is said to derive its name from the Nautieon In- 
dians, its original proprietors. It was discovered by Bartholo- 
mew Gosnold, in 1602, but not settled until fifty years after. 
It is fourteen miles long, and contains about thirty thousand 
acres of level and poor land, which every year is washing away. 
Like its sister island, Martha's Vineyard, it produces grapes in 
abundance ; but as everybody knows, it is supported by the 
whale fishery. The first whale ever killed by its inhabitants, 
was killed in 1672, within the limits of the present harbor, bat 
the regular business which has made the island wealthy and ce- 
lebrated, did not commence until 1690. 

After dinner to-day, I strolled into the company of some 
fishermen who were going after bass and bluefish, and in a short 
time I had captured, with my own hands, two big bass and some 
dozen bluefish — which I packed in ice as a present for New 
York friends. 

At my present time of writing, which is near ten o'clock at 
night, we are weighing anchor, and the skipper tells me we 
shall be in New York by to-morrow's sunset. An hour before 
coming on board this evening, I lounged into a sailor boarding- 
house, and mingled as freely with a company of whalemea 
there, as if I had ever been a member of the craft. I heard 
a great deal that interested me, and was sorry that I could not 
remain longer. There were some in that company lately ar- 
rived from every portion of the world, and yet they were en- 
gaged in the same business, and had journeyed on the same 
mighty highway of nations. One was descanting upon the 
coral islands of the torrid zone ; another upon the ice-moun- 
tains of the Arctic Sea ; a third was describing the coast of 
California ; and another the waters that lave the eastern shore 
of Asia. The more I listened to these men, the more did 
the immensity of ocean expand before my mind, and in the 
same proportion was I led to wonder at the wisdom of the 
Almighty. ^ 

I have just been on deck, and find that we are on the way to 
our desired haven, wafted by a steady and pleasant breeze. 
Our course is between Martha's Vineyard and Rhode Island, 



WEEK IIT A FI&HtKa SHACE. 307 

udded with iBlands and seaports, that now 
starlight like enchantment. 
nff. Instead of coming through the Sound 
led our vessel outside of Long Island, and 
nil, have realized our skipper's promise, for 
; beside the market in Kew York. The rea- 
aking the outside course was, that the fish 
, on account of the greater coldness of the 
peculiar interest has happened to as to-day, 
with a wreck off Sandy Hook. It was the - 
I, whose name we could not discern. It had 
nee, and from the moss and sea-weed that 
posed it must have been afloat for many 
ing of the waves. " Man marks the earth 

is it that scatters such splendid ruins upon 
t thousand remorseless surges echo back the 
belong the glory of those deeds." If that 
;e, what a strange, eventful history would it 
s would be, — home and all its treasures lost; 
dangers ; the soul, and all its agonies ; the 
ifferings. But when we multiply all this as 
Itiplying it, we cannot but realize the idea, 

1 hut a probationary state, and that sorrow 
r earthly inheritance. 

. After portioniDg out my fish this morning, 
to my friends,' I put on my usual dress, and 
six hours' furlough, set off towards Broad- 
n the reading rooms and the studios of a few 
to spend my time quite pleasantly. At noon, 
home, and had a delightful time, passing 
iiver, and that pleasing panorama from the 
lever appeared more beautiful. 
\te, and I have been on deck all the evening 
btfiil mood I fixed my eyes upon the stars, 
e saddened by the continual murmur of the 
,il, thought I, is all this excitement? Is it 
to sail for a few brief years longer upon the 



308 A WEEK IK A FISHING SMACK. 

ocean of life, and, when the death-tempest overtakes me, to 
pass awaj*unloved and unremembered ? If not an honored 
name, can I not leave behind me one — ^that will be cherished 
by a few, to whom I have laid bare my heart, when I was 
younger and happier than I am now? 

Saturday Evening. We anchored off New London to-day, 
in time for me to take the evening steamer for Norwich. When 
I parted with my ^^ shipmates," I shook each one affectionately 
by the hand, and thought that I might travel many years with- 
out finding a brotherhood of nobler men. I reached home as 
the eight o'clock bells were ringing, and was reminded that an* 
other week of precious time was forever gone. That it must 
be' remembered as an unprofitable one, I cannot believe, for I 
feel that my soul has been enlarged and my heart humbled, by 
listening to the teachings of the mighty deep. 



A CHIP FROM BLOCK ISLAND. 



Of all the islands that lie off the coast of the United States^ 
the most interesting, to mj mind, is Block Island. Nantucket, 
in a commercial point of view, is of more importance, and Mar- 
tha's Vineyard, I remember perhaps with more pleasure, be- 
cause I first visited it by the advice of Daniel Webster ; Long 
Island may well be proud of Montauk Point, but its propor- 
tions are too vast ; the sandy islands off the Southern States 
abound in a greater variety of game, but in many particulars 
none of them can compare with Block Island. It lies at the 
junction of Long Island Sound and Narragansett Bay, and is 
washed by those waters of the Atlantic which are perpetually 
blue- It is twenty-one miles from Montauk Point, twenty-five 
from Watch Hill, thirty from Newport, and about fifty from 
Martha's Vineyard. Its dimensions are eight miles by three, 
and every year is diminishing its size. At its northern ex- 
tremity, where stands a double light-house, a sandy bar shoots 
out for a mile and a half, under water, upon the end of which, 
the oldest inhabitants of the island allege that they have ga- 
thered berries. Clay bluffs, rising to the height of one and two 
hundred feet, alternate with broad stretches of white beach in 
forming its shores ; its surface is undulating to an uncommon 
degree, and almost entirely destitute of trees, the highest hill 
lying south of the centre, rising more than four hundred feet ; 
and by way of atoning for its want of running streams, it has 
two handsome lakes, one of which is of fresh water and the 
other of salt water ; the former shallow and abounding in yel- 
low perch, and the latter, which covers some two thousand 



^' 



»■•' 



810 A CHIP FROM BLOCK ISLAND. 

acres, being sixty-five feet deep and well supplied at all times 
with white perch and good oysters. 

The original name of Block Island was Mbnasses^ a word of 
the Narragansetts — to which tribe of Indians it once belonged. 
The white man who discovered and first landed upon it was a 
Dutch navigator, named Adrian Block, whose name it now 
bears. This event occurred upward of two hundred years ago, 
and soon thereafter the Puritans took a fancy to it, and having 
sent over from Plymouth a delegation of leading men, nego- 
tiated a purchase from the Narragansetts chiefs. From this 
good stock do the present inhabitants of Block Island claim to 
have descended. In 1658, the General Court of Massachusetts 
granted all their right and title tQ the island to John Endicott 
and three others. In 1672, it was made a township by the 
name of New Shoreham ; and in 1690, the French made a de- 
scent upon it and carried ofi'.some of its people. The present 
inhabitants purport to number in all about fifteen hundred 
souls, and with very few exceptions are a race of hardy fisher- 
men and sea-faring men. In what is called worldly wisdom 
they are perhaps fifty years behind the present progressive age. 
From their isolated position they are peculiar in their habits, 
and, caring nothing for the world at large, and possessing an 
abundance of the necessaries of life, they are clannish and in- 
dependent to a degree quite remarkable. Among their eccen- 
tricities may be mentioned that of dining at eleven o'clock. 
Their whole domain is cut up into small farms, upon all which 
are planted comfortable dwellings, and hardly any of the able- 
bodied men are without a small landed estate. The houses are 
usually surrounded with stone walls, tfnd instead of gates or 
bars, the stile is in common use ; and in the vicinity of nearly 
every dwelling is a slight frame-work upon which their fish are 
dried in the sun. In religion they are Baptists, associated and 
free-will, having a unique old church ; and if the majority are 
not devout men, they respect all sacred things. They are tem- 
perate in their habits, and not addicted to the vanity of danc- 
ing and other nightly fandango doings which are so common 
among the poorer classes of all countries. 



A OHIP FROH BLOCK ISLAND. 811 

tercoQrse with each other, they are particularly 
abligicg, never Bpeoding money for labor, but 
•tfaer on all occaBions for naught ; but they are 
;hemselves among strangers as if jealoua of their 
Erty. The richest among them are perhaps worth 
lollars, while few are worth lesa than one thou- 
and when their funds are not packed away in old 

found deposited in the banks at Newport. All 
IB, excepting fiour, tea, coffee, and sugar, they 
ir own lands, and their own private looms furnish 
hing. Kearly alt the inhabitants are natives of 
ime of them indeed who are more than fifty years 
; they never spent a night upon any other spot 
1 the some hsM dozen individuals who have be- 
sed are called " emigrants." The rudiments of 
ool education they all possess, and though, like 
they seem to care little for politics and despise 
it they are prompt in performing their election 

more than one occasion have they decided the 
eir State. The present Lieutenant Governor of 

was once a fisherman, and is a native and resi- 
Island. The people have no newspaper and are 

weekly mail. 

chief bnsiness of this island is fishing, and all 
I are fishermen, yet its agricultural resources are 
ised. The soil is naturally good, though there 
of level land on the whole island, — but by a free 
ed it is made extremely rich and productive. 
I and com I have never seen in the United States, 
rticle they grind in windmills, — and all garden 
abundant and of superior quality. Various kinds 
luxuriantly. The horses are small but tough, 
and used for every variety of draughting, and the 
I and sheep of good common stocks. The bogs 
ered over the island, supply the inhabitants with 
uoke of a peat fire, in spite of its poetical asso- 
no means aromatic. Foultry of all kinds is ex- 



312 A CHIP FBOH BLOCK ISLAND. 

ceedingly plentiful, and the geese, turkeys, and chickens, irhich 
are so highly praised on the tables at Newport, are taken to 
that place from Block Island by the ton. 

With regard to the treasures of the sea, I am informed that 
they are taken throughout the year. Codfish, both in winter 
and summer, large bluefish during the summer and autumn, 
bass in the autumn, tautog in summer, and lobsters in the 
spring and autumn. When the. fishing-smacks are on hand 
from New York and other cities, the fth are transferred in a 
fresh state from the Block Island boats to the smacks, which 
often pay their way with merchandise instead of cash ; and when 
this is not the case, the cod and bluefish are dried and pickled 
for exportation. 

The only sporting fish to be found here, is the bluefish ; and 
when snugly seated in a Block Island boat, with two intelligent 
Islanders to talk with, and a stiff breeze blowing, the man who 
cannot be happy, for an afternoon, must be hard to please. 
During the two last hours that I had the pleasure of spending 
in this manner, I caught with an ivory squid twenty-five blue- 
fish, the largest weighing fourteen pounds, and the smallest 
five. I have been surprised to learn, when trolling for these 
fish, that the fishermen could tell when a school was coming by 
the sense of smell alone. It would appear that when these 
fish have been feeding, they sink to the bottom and remain 
quiet ; but just before starting after a new supply of food, they 
disgorge what may be left in their stomachs, and it is this oily 
substance which forms what is called a slick^ and emits the 
smell alluded to. The bluefish is a very voracious creature, 
feeding upon everything it can master; but then it finds a 
master in the porpoise, and when these make their appearance, 
the bluefish vanish to the depths profound. At ordinary times, 
however, they are to be seen skipping along the surface by mil- 
lions, and it is a common sight to see a fleet of fifty of the Island 
boats trolling at one time. On such occasions, they frequently 
sail five or six miles from shore ; and if a returning whale ship 
happens to come in sight, (and this is a frequent occurrence,) 
and has a pilot-flag at her mast, the races to board the ship 



A CHIP FROM BLOCK ISLAND. 313 

are sometimes exciting. The victorious man — for all Block 
Islanders are pilots — after boarding his ship, sends his boat 
home by his partner, and after taking the ship to her desired 
haven or the main coast, receives a fee of thirty or forty dol- 
lars, and trusts to chance for a passage home. 

The only craft which the people of Block Island recogni2^e 
as worth possessing is a smallish affair, deep, sharp at both 
ends, with two masts and two small sails. Nothing could be 
more simple, nothing ride the waves more gracefully, and no- 
thing more safe ; they are all built on the island, after a model 
one hundred and fifty years old, and out of lumber imported 
from the main shore. They sometimes venture one or two 
hundred miles out to sea, and experience very rough weather, 
and yet it is stated that not a single one has ever been lost 
when managed by an experienced man. But while the ship- 
ping of Block Island is first-rate of its kind, I am compelled to 
speak of its harbor as most indifferent. It lies on the eastern 
side of the island, and " faces the loudest music" of the Atlan- 
tic, and all that Nature has done for it is to pile up a few 
boulders at the end of a small point of sand. In calm weather 
a few piles, kept down. by stones, answer the partial purpose of 
a wharf, but when a storm approaches, every boat afloat is 
hauled up high and dry, and all sea business is suspended. 
At such times, to arrive or depart from Block Island is equally 
impossible ; and then it is that the stranger there, by lounging 
around the fish-houses with the fisherman, has a capital chance 
to hear them spin their uncouth but pleasant yarns. 

The majority of people who have hitherto visited Block 
Island for pleasure have made it a stopping-place when out 
upon a yachting-cruise ; but matters are now so arranged that 
you may go from Newport in the mail-boat (a Block Islander) 
during the summer, on every Thursday, wind and weather per- 
mitting, and from Stonington on Tuesday and Friday of every 
week, in a comfortable sloop commanded by Captain Fitch, an 
experienced and obliging sailor. On arriving at the island, 
your luggage, if in as many pieces, will be taken up to the 
hotel by half a dozen fishermen, who, in their kindness, make 

VOL. II. — ^v 




S14 A CHIP FROM BLOCK ISLAND. 

»o demand fwr their services. When in the mood, and you 
understand it is not for pay, they will treat you >yith great re- 
spect ; but the moment you begin to attempt the patron, they 
begin to be snspicioias and treat you with coldness. The one 
hotel which receives all strangers, is a much more comfortable 
affair than you would expect in such a place. The position is 
commanding, and though the rooms are small, the beds are 
clean, and the table bountiful, neat, and tasteful. The land- 
lord's name is Card, and all who have ever paid him a visit 
agree in calling him a trump. The view of the ocean from his 
house is truly magnificent; and while you have on the one 
hand a superb beach for surf-bathing, and where more than one 
old whale has been stranded, you have on the other a rocky 
shore where many hoors may be pleasantly spent gathering the 
delicate plants that are nourished by the sea, or in sending the 
fancy to revel among the mountains and valleys of the wonder- 
ful world of waters. But for the scenes that can only be de- 
scribed by such words as day-break, sunrise, twilight, and 
moonlight, I know of no place that can surpass the Block 
Island Hotel. 

The climate of Block Island is severe but healthful. Fogs 
are at times heavy and continuous, and the winter storms have 
been described to me as terrific. On questioning one of the 
ancient mariners about the health of the island, he replied as 
follows : — " We never die, sir } we dry up and are blown 
away." 

And now for a legend appertaining to this curious and in- 
teresting island. With all their intelligence the inhabitants 
are somewhat superstitious, and I can safely assert that I have 
never conversed with a single native who did not, in some de- 
gree at least, believe in the Fire Ship, about which there are a 
thousand and one stories in circulation. The story, in its most 
common form, seems to be a blending of authentic facts, with 
atmospheric appearances and a belief in the supernatural. I 
tell the tale as it was told to me, and I may add, in passing, 
that I have in my possession some articles of old china-ware, 
which many people on Block Island believe, without a doubt. 



A CHIP FROM BLOCK ISLAND. 316 

irought from the ship in question. But to the 

r j«arB ago a ship called the Palantine sailed 
with a large namber of Dutch passengers, bound 
in North America. Soon after leaving port, it 
Jly known that many of the passengers were 
ad a large amount of gold and silver in their 
hree weeks elapsed, when the captain and his 
the idea of enriching themselves by plundering 
the inoffensive and nnsnspicioos persons in their 
irst reported their provisions spoilt, but managed 
icuits for a guinea each. This process was at 
led, and then disease and famine had full sway. 
■e favorable, all were not yet dead, and lo ! the 
ig off Block Island. 

jengers who still survived might still live to tell 
oe, and so the ship must be destroyed, with all 
ght. The captain and his crew piled their ill- 
n their two yawls, and having scuttled and set 
, they embarked for the neighboring island, where 
at as the great mass of flame sank hissing into 
) pirates told the islanders a plausible story, and 
ihs they lived in a house which is still pointed 
iouB stranger — hut is a mere ruin. The pirates 
.rated, and left for parts unknown. For many 
r, the house was deserted by all persons of flesh 
tBickly peopled with ghosts, — with pale women 
;n reduced to skeletons, and children with bloody 
lever they made their appearance at the witch- 
ht, there were heard the most frightful cries of 
recess of time, however, the spectres all disap- 
late years, whenever a great storm is about to 
into fury, the Fire Ship is distinctly seen in the 
1 a mass of cinders, and her sails, sheets of pure 
old men have looked upon this phantom many 
B of them allege that they have seen the suffer- 
Heaven for succor, and heard their shrieks of 



SALMON FISHING. 



t like the society of fish, and as they cannot with any convenience to them- 
selves visit me on dry land, ^t becomes me in point of courtesy to pay 
my respects to them In their own element. — William Scrope. 

Of the genuine salmon, we believe there is but one distinct 
species in the world ; we are sure there is but one in the United 
States. From its lithe beauty, its wonderful activity^ and its 
value as an article of food, it unquestionably takes precedence 
of all the fish which swim in our waters. 

The variety of which we speak is a slender fish, particularly 
solid in texture, and has a small head and delicate fins. The 
upper jaw is the larger, while the tip of the under jaw in the 
female has an upward turn. The back is usually of a bluish 
color, the sides of a silvery hue, and the belly pure white, while 
along the centre of its body runs a narrow black stripe. The 
scales are small, and the mouth is covered with small, but stout 
and pointed teeth. A few dark spots are dispersed over that 
part of the body above the lateral line, and the females usually 
exhibit a larger number of these spots than the males. The . 
tail of the young salmon is commonly forked, while in the adult 
fish it is quite square. To speak of the salmon as a bold biter, 
and a handsome fish, or of his wonderful leaping powers, would 
be but to repeat a thrice-told tale. 

And now for a few words on some of the habits of the sal- 
mon. He is, unquestionably, the most active of all the finny 
tribes, but the wonderful leaps which he is reported to have 
made are all moonshine. We have seen them perform some 




SnetTyoBb 
•TOLIC LIB] 



AiTOn. f 






SALMON FISHING. 317 

superb somersets, but ire never yet saw one which could scale 
a perpendicular waterfall of ten feet. That they have been 
taken above waterfalls three or four times as high we do not 
deny ; but the wonder may be dispensed with, when we remem- 
ber that a waterfall seldom occurs, which does not contain a 
number of resting-places for the salmon to take advantage of 
while on his upward journey. 

Contrary to the prevailing opinion, we contend that the sal- 
mon is possessed of a short memory. While fishing in a small 
river on a certain occasion, owing to the bad position in which 
we were placed, we lost a favorite fly, and it so happened that 
in about one hour afterwards a fish was taken by a brother 
angler, in whose mouth was found the identical fly that we had 
lost.* 

This fish is a voracious feeder, and an epicure in his tastes, 
for his food is composed principally of small and delicate fish, 
and the sea-sand eel ; but it is a fact that the surest bait to 
capture him with is the common red worm. 

The salmon is a shy fish, and as he invariably inhabits the 
clearest of water, it is always important that the angler's move- 
ments should be particularly cautious ; and in throwing the fly, 
he should throw it clear across the stream, if possible ; and af- 
ter letting it float down for a few yards he should gradually 
draw it back again, with an upward tendency. 

Like all other fish that swim near the surface of the water, 
the salmon cannot be eaten in too fresh a condition ; and, judg- 
ing from our own experience, they may be eaten three times a- 
day, for a whole season, and at the end of their running time 
they will gratify the palate more effectually than when first 
brought upon the table. 

The process of spawning has been described by various writ- 
ers, and the general conclusion is as follows. On reaching a 
suitable spot for that purpose, the loving pair manage to dig a 
furrow some six feet long, in the sand or gravel, into which the 
male ejects his milt, and the female her spawn; this they cover 

* This is by no means an uDcommon circumstance. — Ed, 



S18 EALUON TismnQ. 

with their tails, and leaving this deposit to the tender mercies 
of the liquid elements, betake themselves to the sea whence 
they came. This Bpawning operation usually occupies about 
ten days, and takes place in the anttimn ; and when the spring- 
time comes the salmon are bom, and, under " their Creator's 
protection," are swept into the sea, where they come to their 
natural estate by the following spring, and ascend their native 
rivers to revisit the haunts of their minnowhood. And it is a 
singular fact, that the salmon leaves the sea in an emaciated 
condition, acquires his fatness while going up a river, and sub- 
sequently return to the sea for the purpose of recruiting his 
wonted health and beauty.* 

The salmon is a restless fish, and seldom found a second time 
in exactly the same spot ; but his principal travelling time is in 
the night, when the stars are shining brightly and all the world 
is wrapt in silence. 

The salmon come up from the sea during a flood or a freshet, 
and in ascending a river, they invariably tarry for a short time 
in all the pools of the same. Their object in doing this has 
not been clearly defined ; but is it unreasonable to suppose that 
they are influenced by the same motives which induce a human 
traveller to tarry in a pleasant valley? The only diflference is, 
that when the man would resume his journey be waits for a 
sunny day, while the salmon prefers a rainy day to start upon 
his pilgrimage. The best places to fish for salmon are the shal- 
lows above the deep pools ; and it is a settled fact, that after 
you have killed a fish, you are always sure to find in the course 
of a few hours another individual in the same place. It would 
thus seem that they are partial to certain localities. Another 
thing that should be remembered is, that salmon never take the 
natural fly vrhile it is in a stationary position, or when floating 
dovn stream ; hence the great importance of carrying the arti* 
ficial fly directly across the stream, or in an upward oblique 

* The propagation of ealmon at Galwa; aod elsewhere by artificial 

means, which is now carried on most Buacassfullj, will throw much light 
on the habits of this fish. 



SALMON FISniNO. S19 

direction. When you have hooked a salmon, it is a bad plan 
to strain upon him in any degree, unless he is swimming to- 
wards a dangerous ground, and even then this is an unsafe ex- 
periment. The better plan is to throw a pebble in front of him^ 
for the purpose of frightening him back, and you should man- 
age to keep as near his royal person as practicable. Another 
peculiarity of the salmon is the fact that (excepting the shad,) 
it is the only fish which seems to bo perfectly at home in the 
salt sea, as well as in the fresh springs among the mountains. 
It is also singular in the color of its flesh, which is a deep pink, 
and the texture of its flesh is remarkably solid: the latter cir- 
cumstance is proved by the fa<;t that you cannot carry a salmon 
by the gills, as you can other fish, withont tearing and mutilat- 
ing him to an uncommon degree. 

In olden times there was hardly a river on the eastern coast 
of the United States, north of Virginia, which was not annu- 
aUy visited by the salmon ; but those days are for ever depart- 
ed, and it is but seldom that we now hear of their being taken 
in any river south of Boston. They frequented, in considerable 
numbers, the Susquehanna, the Delaware, and North rivers, 
but were eminently abundant in the Connecticut and the 
Thames. On the former stream it used to be stipulated by the 
day-laborer, that he should have salmon placed upon his table 
only four times in the week; and we have been told by an old 
man residmg on the latter stream, that the value of three sal- 
mon, forty years ago, was equal to one shad — the former were 
so much more abundant than the ktter. But steamboats and 
the din of cities, have long since frightened the salmon from 
their ancient haunts, and the beautiful aborigines of our rivers 
now seek for undisturbed homes in more northern waters. Oc- 
casionally even at the present time, the shad fishermen of the 
Merrimac and Saco succeed in netting a small salmon ; but in 
the Androscoggin, Kennebec, and Penobscot, they are yet 
somewhat abundant, and these are the rivers which chiefly sup- 
ply our city markets with the fresh article. 

As the ice melts away in the spring, says Dr. J. V. C Smith, 
in his interesting little book on the Fishes of Massachusetts, 







4' 

r. 



820 



SALMON FISHING. 



they rush to the rivers from the ocean ; and it is an undeniable 
fact, confirmed by successful experiments, that they visit, as far 
as possible, the very streams in which they were born. When 
undisturbed, they swim slowly in large schools near the sur- 
face ; yet they are so timid, that if suddenly frightened, the 
whole column will turn directly back towards the sea. It has 
also been proven that a salmon can scud at the surprising velo- 
city of thirty miles an hour. The young are about a foot long 
when they visit the rivers for the first time ; and at the end of 
two years, according to Mr. Smith, they weigh five or six 
pounds, and attain their full growth in about six years. Whea 
running up the rivers they are in a fat condition ; after that 
period, having deposited their spawn, they return to the sea, 
lean and emaciated. In extremely warm weather, and while 
yet in the salt water, they are often greatly annoyed by a black 
and flat-looking insect, which is apt to endanger their lives. 
As soon, however, as they reach the fresh water, this insect 
drops off, and they rapidly improve. ' 

The streams which these fish ascend are invariably distin- 
guished for their rocky and gravelly bottoms, for the coldness 
and purity of their water, and for their rapid currents. Those 
which afford the angler the most sport are rather small and 
shallow, and empty into tide-water rivers ; while in these they 
are chiefly taken with the net. The tributaries of the Andro- 
scoggin, Kennebec, and Penobscot, having all been blocked up 
with mill-dams, the salmon is only found in the principal estua- 
ries ; and as these are large and deep, they are of no value to 
the angler, and will not be many years longer even to the fish- 
ermen who capture them for the purpose of making money. 
So far as our own experience goes, we only know of one river, 
within the limits of the Union, which affords the angler good 
salmon fishing, and that is the Aroostook, in Maine. We have 
been informed, however, that the regular salmon is taken in 
many of those rivers, in the northern part of New York, which 
empty into Lake Ontario, and the upper St. Lawrence, but we 
arc compelled to doubt the truth of the statement. Such may 
have been the case in former times, but we think it is not so 



SALMOn FISHIKQ. Slit 

e not taken at Jlontreal, and it is tlitn'efore 
ippose that they ever reach the fountain-bead 
ice ; this portion of the great river is too far 
and too extensively navigated, and the vater 
' clear. That they once ascended to the Ot- 
jake Ontario we have not a doubt, but those 
js of the days of old. Another prevailing 
ird to salmon we have it in our power deci- 
ct. Mr. John J. Brown, in bis useful little 

"American Anglor's Guide," makes the re- 
I are found in great abundance in the Missis- 
lificent tributaries. Such is not the fact, and 
f "our brother" had ever caught a glimpse 
saissippi, he would have known by intuition 
)t be the case. Nor is the salmon partial to 

of the far South, as many people suppose, 
1 any river emptying into the Gulf of Mexico ; 
leion of the whole matter is just this, that the 
if the United States proper are of but little 
I compared with many other countries on the 
will be an everlasting disgrace to the genera- 
nctioned the nnwise and unchristian doings of 
factor^ of the country. When we come to 
lories, however, we have a very different story 
:cr river for salmon does not water any coun- 
hty Columbia — that same Columbia where a 

once purchased a ton of salmon for a jack- 
river is somewhat too far off to -expect an in- 
present essay, and wo will therefore take our 
irmission, into the neighboring provinces of 
inswick, and Hova Scotia, 
ling another step, however, we must insert a 
the various methods employed to capture the 
lians, and many white barbarians, spear them 
d the thousands sent to market in a smoked 
en in nets and seines of various kinds. But 
uts used by the scienti^c angler are a rod and 



822 SALMON FISHING, 

reel, three hundred feet of hair or silk line, and an assortment 
of artificial flies. Our books tell us that a gaudy fly is com- 
monly the best killer, but our own experience inclines us to the 
belief that a large brown or black hackle, or any neatly made 
grey fly, is much preferable to the finest fancy specimens. As 
to bait-fishing for salmon we have never tried it — ^we care less 
about it than we know, and we know but very little. Next to 
a delicately made fly, the most important thing to consider is 
the leader of the line, which should be made of the best mate- 
rial (a twisted gut,) and at least five feet in length* But if the 
angler is afraid of wading in a cold or even a deep stream, the 
very best of tackle will avail him nothing. It is but seldom 
that a large salmon can be taken, without costing the captor a 
good deal of hard labor, and a number of duckings. And when 
the character of the fish is remembered, this assertion will not 
appear strange. Not only is the salmon a large fish, but he is 
remarkable for his strength and lightning quickness. Owing 
to his extreme carefulness in meddling with matters that may 
injure him, it is necessary to use the most delicate tackle, in 
the most cautious and expert manner. To pull a salmon in 
shore, immediately after he has been hooked, will never do ; 
the expert way is to give him all the line he wants, never for- 
getting in the meantime that it must be kept perfectly taut. 
And this must be done continually, in spite of every obstacle, 
not only when the fish performs his splendid leaps out of the 
water, but also when he is stemming the current of the stream, 
trying to break the hook against a rock, or when he has made 
a sudden wheel, and is gliding down the stream with the swift- 
ness of a falling star. The last effort to get away which I have 
mentioned, is usually the last that the salmon makes, and it is 
therefore of the highest importance that the angler should 
manage him correctly when going down. Narrow rifts, and 
even waterfalls, do not stop the salmon ; and bushes, deep holes, 
slippery bottoms, and rocky shores, must not impede the course 
of the angler who would secure a prize. And though the sal- 
mon is a powerful fish, he is not long-winded, and by his great 
impatience is apt to drown himself much sooner than one would 

\ 

\ 



SALMON FISHIKO. 323 

;imes most favorable for taking this fish are 
ning and late in the afternoon ; and when the 
is fishing ground and discovers the salmon leap- 
Bter, as if too happy to remain quiet, he may 
>on rare sport. As to the pleasure of captnr- 
1, we conceive it to be more exquisite than any 
e world. We have killed a. buffalo on the head 
t. Peter's river, bat we had every advantage 
, for we rode a well-trained horse and carried 
i gun. We have seen John Cheney bring to 
ity bnll moose, among the Adirondac motin- 
I assisted by a pair of terriblo dogs, and carried 
lut neither of these exploits is to be compared 
ptnring a twenty pound salmon, with a line 

the flowing hair of a beautiful woman. When 
a salmon, we take no undue advantage of him, 
I follow his own free will ; and when he has 
we give him permission to match his strength 
. We have sat in a cariole and driven a Cana- 
} rate of a mile in two minutes and a half, on 
f Lake Erie, and, as we held the reins, have 
1 not enjoy a more exquisite pleasure. That 
sver, was ours long before we had ever seen a 

we are somewhat wiser now, for we have ac- 
r driving through the pure white foam even a 
nd that, too, with only a silken line some hun- 
Qgth. 

lost fruitful salmon regions for the angler to 
north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, be- 
snay and the Godbout river, in Labrador. A 
lowever, there was good fishing to be had in 
above the Sagaenay, and also in the Jacques 
aebec, but good sport is seldom found in either 

at the present time. But the principal tribu- 
nenay itself (particularly the river St. Marga* 
.rest of sport, even now. The streams of this 
small, but very numerous, and without a single 



324 SALMON FISHINa. 

exception, we believe, are rapid, cold, and clear. They abound 
in waterfalls, and though exceedingly wild, are usually quite 
convenient to angle in, for the reason that the spring freshets 
are apt to leave a gravelly margin on either side. The conve- 
niences for getting to this out-of-the-way region are somewhat 
rude, but quite comfortable and very romantic. The angler 
has to go in a Quebec fishing-smack, or if he is in the habit of 
trusting to fortune when he gets into a scrape, he can always 
obtain a passage down the St. Lawrence in a brig or ship, 
which will land him at any stated point. If he goes in a 
smack, he can always make use of her tiny cabin for his tem- 
porary home ; but if he takes a ship, after she has spread her 
sails for Europe, he will have to depend upon the hospitality 
of the Esquimaux Indians. At the mouths of a few of the 
streams alluded to, he may chance to find the newly-built cabin 
of a lumberman, who will treat him with marked politeness ; 
but he must not lay the " flattering unction*' to his soul that 
he will receive any civilities from the agents of the Hudson's 
Bay Company whom he may happen to meet in that northern 
wilderness. 

A large proportion of these streams runs through an un- 
known mountain land, and are yet nameless ; so that we cannot 
designate the precise localities where we have been particularly 
successful ; and we might add that the few which have been 
named by the Jesuit missionaries can never be remembered 
without a feeling of disgust. Not to attempt a pun, it can 
safely be remarked that those names are decidedly beastly ; for 
they celebrate such creatures as the hog, the sheep, and the 
cow. The salmon taken on this coast vary from ten to forty 
pounds, though the average weight is perhaps fifteen pounds. 
They constitute an important article of commerce, aad it is 
sometimes the case that a single fisherman will secure at least 
four hundred at one tide, in a single net. The cities of Mon- 
treal and Quebec are supplied with fresh salmon from this por- 
tion of the St. Lawrence, and the entire valley of that river, 
as well as portions of the Union, are supplied with smoked sal- 
mon from the same region. The rivers on the southern coast 



SALMON FiSHma. 



325 



of the Gulf of St. Lawrence are generally well supplied with 
salmon, but those streams are few and far between, and diffi- 
cult of access. But a visit to any portion of this great north- 
ern valley, during the pleasant summer time, is attended with 
many interesting circumstances. Generally speaking, the 
scenery is mountainous, and though the people are not very 
numerous, they are somewhat unique in their manners and 
customs, and always take pleasure in lavishing their attentions 
upon the stranger. The weeks that we spent voyaging upon 
the St. Lawrence we always remember with unalloyed pleasure ; 
and if we thought that fortune would never again permit us to 
revisit those delightful scenes, we should indeed be quite un- 
happy. 

The most agreeable of our pilgrimages were performed in a 
small sail-boat, commanded by an experienced and very intelli- 
gent pilot of Tadousac, named Oavington, and our companions 
were Charles Pentland, Esq., of L'anse a-Veau, on the Saguenay, 
and David Price, Esq., of Quebec. We had everything we 
wanted in the way of "creature comfort ;" and we went every- 
where, saw everybody, caught lots of salmon, killed an occa- 
sional seal, and tried to harpoon an occasional white porpoise ; 
now enjoying a glorious sunset, and then watching the stars 
and the strange auroras, as we lay becalmed at midnight far 
out upon the deep ; at one time gazing with wonder upon a 
terrible storm, and then again, happy, fearless, and free, dash- 
ing over the billows before a stiflF gale. 

Some of the peculiar charms of fly-fishing in this region are 
owing to the fact, that you are not always sure of the genus 
of your fish even after you have hooked him, for it may be a 
forty or twenty pound salmon, and then agaii^it may be a sal- 
mon-trout or a four pound specimen of the common trout. The 
consequence is, that the expectations of the angler are always 
particularly excited. Another pleasure which might be men- 
tioned is derived from the queer antics and laughable yells of 
the Indians, who are always hanging about your skirts for the 
express purpose of making themselves merry over any mishap 
-which may befall you. The only drawback which we have 



826 SALMON FISHING. 

foand in fishing in these waters is caused by the immense num- 
ber of musquitos and sand-flies. Every new guest is received 
by them with particular and constant attention : their only de- 
sire, by night or day, seems to be to gorge themselves to death 
with the life-blood of those who " happen among them." It ac- 
tually makes our blood run cold to think of the misery we have 
endured from these winged tormentors. 

Even with the Gulf of St. Lawrence before our. mind, we are 
disposed to consider the Bay of Chaleur the most interesting 
salmon region in the British possessions. This estuary divides 
Lower Canada from New Brunswick, and as the streams emp- 
tying into it are numerous and always clear, they are resorted 
to by the salmon in great numbers. The scenery of the bay 
is remarkably beautiful, the northern shore being rugged and 
mountainous, presents an agreeable contrast to the southern 
shore, which is an extensive lowland, fertile, and somewhat 
cultivated. The principal inhabitants of this region are Scotch 
farmers, and the simplicity of their lives is only equalled by 
their hospitality ; and upon this bay, also, reside the few sur- 
vivors of a once powerful aboriginal nation, the Micmac Li- 
dians. But of all the rivers which empty into the Bay of 
Chaleur, there is not one that can be compared to the Besti- 
gouche, which is its principal tributary. It is a winding stream, 
unequal in width, and after running through a hilly country, it 
forces its way through a superb mountain gorge, and then be- 
gins to expand in width until it falls into its parent bay. The 
scenery is most beautiful, the eye being occasionally refreshed 
by the appearance of a neat farm, or a little Indian hamlet. 
The river is particularly famous for its salmon, which are very 
abundant and of a good size. But this is a region which the 
anglers of our country or the Provinces, with few exceptions, 
have not yet taken the trouble to visit, and many of the resi- 
dent inhabitants are not even aware of the fact that the salmon 
may be taken with the fly. The regular fishermen catch them 
altogether with the net, and the Indians with the spear ; and 
it is a singular fact that the Indians are already complaining 
of the whites for destroying their fisheries, when it is knovm 



SALMON FISHING. 327 

that a single isdiridual will frequently capture in a single day 
a hundred splendid fellows, and that, too, with a spear of only 
one tine. It is reported of a Scotch clergyman who once 
angled in *' these parts," that he killed three hundred salmon 
in one season, and with a single rod and reel. A pilgrimage 
to the Restigonche would afford the salmon fisher sufficient 
taaterial to keep his memory busy for at least one year. The 
angler and lover of scenery who could spare a couple of months^ 
would find it a glorious trip to go to the Bay of Chaleur in a 
vessel around Nova Scotia, returning in a canoe by the Resti- 
gonche and the Salmon river, which empties into the St. John. 
His most tedious portage would be only about three miles long, 
(a mere nothing to the genuine angler,) and soon after touch- 
ing the latter river he could ship himself on board of a steam- 
boat, and come home in less than a week, even if that home 
happened to be west of the Allegheny mountains. The Nipi- 
siguit and the Miramichi, are also glorious streams for the sal- 
' mon fisher ; but like the Restigouche, they have been elsewhere 
described in these pages more particularly than would 'be pro- 
per in this essay. 

Of all the large rivers, indeed, of New Brunswick, we know 
not any which will not afford the fly fisherman an abundance 
of sport. Foremost among them, we would mention the St. 
John, with the numerous beautiful tributaries which come into 
it below the Great Falls, not forgetting the magnificent pool 
below those falls, nor Salmon river, the Tobique and the 
Aroostook. The scenery of this valley is truly charming, but 
the man who would spend a summer therein must have a re- 
markably long purse, for the half-civilized white people of the 
regicn have, or had a few years ago, a particular passion for 
imposing upon travellers, and charging them the most exorbi- 
tant prices for the simple necessaries they might need. The 
salmon of the St. John are numerous, but rather small, seldom 
weighing more than fifteen pounds. The fisheries of the Bay 
of Fundy, near the mouth of the St. John, constitute an im- 
portant interest, in a commercial point of view. The fishermen 
here take the salmon with drag-nets, just before high water: 



328 SALMON FISHING. 

the nets are about sixty fathoms long, and require three or 
four boats to manage them. The fish, at one time, were all 
purchased at this particular point, by one man, at the rate of 
eighty cents a-piece, large and small, during the entire season. 
We now come to say a few words of Nova Scotia, which ifl 
not only famous for its salmon, but also for its scientific ang- 
lers. In this province the old English feeling for the " gentle* 
art" is kept up, and we know of fly fishermen there, a record 
of whose piscatorial exploits would have overwhelmed even the 
renowned Walton and Davy with astonishment. The rivers of 
Nova Scotia are very numerous, and usually well supplied with 
salmon. The great favorite among the Halifax anglers is Gold 
river, a cold and beautiful stream, which is about sixty miles 
distant from that city, in a westerly direction. The valley of 
the stream is somewhat settled, and by a frugal and hard-work- 
ing Swiss and German population, who pitched their tents there 
in 1760. It is fifteen years since it was discovered by a strol- 
ling angler, and at the present time there is hardly a man re- 
siding on its banks who does not consider himself a faithful 
disciple of Walton. Even among the Micmac Indians, who 
pay the river an annual visit, may be occasionally found an 
expert fly fishen But, after all. Nova Scotia is not exactly 
the province to which a Yankee angler would enjoy a visit, for 
cockney fishermen are a little too abundant, and the ways of 
the people, in some particulars, are not over agreeable. The 
. fishing season commences in this province at least a month ear- 
lier than in New Brunswick. 

Having finished our geographical history of the salmon and 
his American haunts, we will take our leave of him, by simply 
remarking (for the benefit of those who like to preserve what 
they capture) that there are three modes for preserving sal- 
mon : — ^first, by putting them in salt for three days, and then 
smoking, which takes about twelve days ; secondly, by regularly 
salting them down, as you would mackerel ; and, thirdly, by 
boiling and then pickling them in vinegar. The latter method 
is unquestionably the most troublesome, but at the same time 
the most expeditious ; and what can tickle the palate more ex- 



SALMON FISHING. 329 

qoisitely than a choice bit of pickled salmon, with a bottle of 
Burgundy to float it to its legitimate home ? 

P. S. In the foregoing chapter I have alluded to the God- 
bout, and Nepisiguit rivers as among the very best known to 
American anglers for salmon fishing ; and though I have else- 
-where fully described the latter streams, the following particu- 
lars respecting them both, extracted from private letters are 
worth recording. 

In April, 1853, H. Stephens, Esq., wrote to me from Mon- 
treal respecting the Q-odhout in Labrador, as follows : — 

" My trip last year was one of complete success. I killed, 
with my own rod, seventy-two salmon, the largest of which 
weighed twenty-two and a half pounds, with five others over 
sixteen pounds. I have secured from Sir George Simpson, 
the Governor of the Hudson's Bay Co., the exclusive right to 
the best river in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, (the Godbout) and 
you must be a dull sportsman, if you do not have the satisfac- 
tion of killing, at least, fifty salmon, and I have no doubt you 
have done enough in this way to know the full pleasure of this 
sport. 

'' I can take up the same schooner I had last year for four or 
five dollars per day, including our men, and I think the whole 
expense will not exceed one hundred and fifty dollars each, and 
if we take another companion, it will, of course, reduce it to 
one hundred dollars. You will require to be here on the 4th 
of June to sail from Quebec on the 5th, and if we avail our- 
selves of the whole fishing season, should stay until the 20th of 
July, it can be arranged, however, so that you can leave at an 
earlier date on your return. 

^' I have full appointments, such as tents, kettles, &c., in 
fact, no general officer was ever better provided in this res- 
pect, and all you will require to provide will be your bedding 
and musquito nets for sleeping. I have a complete specific 
that will keep off all fiies during the day. 

"At this point last year in one of the best pools, I killed, 
assisted by a friend, ten salmon in two hours and a half, all 
upon single gut, of an average weight of at least twelve pounds. 

VOL, II. — W 



1 



880 SALMON FISHINa. 

At this point of the game we were 'nsed up/ and stuspended 
Qur sport for rest and refreshments, killing in the afternoon 
five more, making np a glorious day's sport, and I can almost 
fancy myself now standing upon that beautiful pool, rod in 
hand, the click of the reel vibrating in my ear as the noble 
salmon makes his first rocket-like plunge." 

In another letter describing his luck during the season of 
1853, Mr. Stephens writes as follows : — 

^' My last trip proved the most successful sporting expedition 
in salmon fishing that I have made, I went, aa usual, the three 
preceding years to the Godbout River, was absent from home 
only thirty-one days, fished the river eighteen days, and killed 
fifty-three salmon, the largest weighing nineteen and a half 
pounds. This, taking into account the time employed, I think you 
will acknowledge, to be very fine sport, particularly when I tell 
you, that thirty of those salmon were killed with a fourteen foot 
trout-rod and single gut casting line, and, hereafter, I am pre- 
pared to recommend to all true sportsmen the propriety of 
adopting a light elastic rod, certainly not over fifteen feet in 
length, and the use of the single gut only, and you will find, 
that this mode of fly-fishing for salmon, brings into play such a 
complete and delicate exercise of art, that your sport becomes 
doubly interesting. The Godbout River, I think, is one of the 
best rivers for salmon fishing with fly, in the Gulf of St. Law- 
rence, nevertheless it is attended with some little inconvenience 
and trouble to reach it, ^hen once accomplished, you meet with 
ample return in the fine sport it afibrds. Your outfit must be 
complete in leaving Quebec, with a good safe schooner of some 
fifty or one hundred tons, on board of which you must be sup- 
plied with two skiffs, tents, with full camp equipage, in short, 
everything that your own convenience may seem to require for 
a life in the woods, totally excluded, for the time being, from 
the rest of the world ; thus appointed with acceptable com- 
panions, and a voyage of three or four days from Quebec, you 
will be safely landed at the Godbout, when your sport will only 
be Umited by the proper exercise of the art of fly-fishing. My 
experience of past years would fix the 10th of June as the most 
desirable period for sailing from Quebec." 



6ALM0K FISHING. 831 

In February, 1868, Moses H. Perley, Esq., of St. John, New 
Brunswick, gave me the following particulars respecting the 
Ntpiiiguit. 

" This is the best river we have. The salmon can only go 
twenty.five miles up the river from the sea, being there stopped 
by very high falls. There is good fishing at several points on 
the river, but the best place, to my fancy, is at the Papineau 
Falls, seven miles from Bathurst, with a fair road for a wagon. 
The fishing begins in June. At that time the white sea trout 
of the Gulf are found abundantly in the river, of large size. 
But the best salmon fishing is in July, the height of the season 
is understood to be from the 20th of July to the 10th of Au- 
gust, after which the grilse, (small salmon under 5 lbs.) come 
in plentifully, until the close of the season. Among the ex- 
ploits that have been performed by personal friends I may 
mention fifty-eight salmon by one in ten days ; by another, in 
six weeks, one hundred and seventy, and by another in the 
whole season, three hundred and twenty. There are seldom 
more than ten or a dozen fishers on the Nipisiguit each season, 
and there is fishing enough for all. To be sure of sport, you 
should give yourself ample time, as the river may not be in 
condition when you arrive. The best fishing is of course imme- 
diately after a rain-storm, as each freshet in the river brings 
up a large run of fish clean from the sea. 

" There is no end to the trout fishing on the river, and they 
are of large size. But two days would give you enough of that, 
if you followed it up. I tried it two mornings for a few hours, 
caught one hundred each day and then cried enough. It very 
Boon ceases to be sport, especially when you know there are 
salmon and grilse in the immediate vicinity." 

I do not agree with Mr. Perley in pronouncing the Papineau 
Falls the best spot on the river, but A. P. Bradbury, Esq., of 
Bangor, thinks with him, and thus mentions his sport there in 
1853. " My friend Mr. Carr and myself remained upon the 
ground nineteen days, and in that time killed forty-three fish, 
the largest weighing only seventeen pounds. The longest time 
occupied in landing a fish was two hours, he having sulked one 
hour of that time. The shortest time was about twenty minutes. 



882 SALMON FISHINQ. 

Besides these, we caught a large number of trout weighing from 
one to four pounds, which gave us fine sport. Altogether, we 
enjoyed our trip exceedingly. Many times, during our sojourn 
on the banks of the Nipisiguit, did we make ^Lanmav!% Campy 
a shelter from sun and rain, nor did we omit his health in our 
9chnapp»,'* 

But I cannot take leave of my friend Mr. Perley, without 
quoting in full another of his private piscatorial letters, which 
runneth as follows : — 

Wigwam, Burnt Church Point, 

MiRAMACHA Bay, Aug. 5, 1853. 

^^ I have been here three days, and three happier days I scarce 
ever spent. 

" In the first place, my wigwam is a superb one — twenty feet 
by sixteen, and a perfect picture, inside and out. It stands on 
a grass plat, in a clump of young firs, fifty yards from the sea- 
shore. I have four Indians — ^young men and first rate attend- 
ants. Two of them cook admirably. As to the materials for 
cooking, we (Coley and self,) have now in camp the following 
stock : 

Salmon — afresh, salted, smoked and preserved. 

Trout — ^bass — lobsters, and "a pile" of oysters. 

Ham, pork, bread, biscuit, &c., &c. 

Blueberries and raspberries, by the pailful. 

Fresh mackerel, (this moment arrived.) 

A brace of plover. 

God, haddock, and halibut. 
''Two days ago, Coley made his debut as a fly-fisher, and 
caught forty-eight trout ; a pretty good beginning. I caught 
tt hundred and thirteen — the largest weighed just two pounds, 
when cleaned. Yesterday, Coley caught sixty-two trout, and 
I caught a hundred and five — ^the young scamp caught fish for 
fish with me the first half hour. As yet he has not broken a 
line or lost a fly. 

"You know, Coley is grave and quiet — ^he had not been here 
twelve hours, until the Indians dubbed him, " Sagamon 
chiche," the little chief; and by that name he is now called 



SALMON FISHING. 333 

altogether. To-day he has been out shooting with a long leg- 
ged Indian, and fired away any amount of powder and shot-r— 
result — the two plover aforesaid. 

"My happiness would bo complete if you were here for a day 
or two. What a change from New York or Washington ! Such 
a delicious air, pure sea-water, atmosphere warm but bracing. 
At this moment I am stronger and more vigorous than at any 
time during the last three years. 

•' It is now an hour to sunset, and the cook wants to know 
what I will have for supper. Last night I had boiled macke- 
rel, not half an hour caught. I caught six sea trout about an 
hour ago, so here they go, with new potatoes and an egg. 

" At this moment I think Coley the happiest fellow in this 
world. He has on a red shirt — is stretched out on a Hue 
blanket — a white blanket about his feet, and my gray shawl 
under his head. He holds Harper for July in one hand, and 
is dipping the other into a pail of blueberries standing beside 
him. One of my flags, St. George's Cross, liangs above him ; 
while guns, fishing-rods, nets, spears, shot-belts, landing-nets, 
game-bags, fishing baskets, &c., are placed about the ^amp in 
most picturesque fashion, but most perfect order. 

" To-day, I went over to the fishing station at Portage Island. 
A small fleet of green bottomed schooners were cruising off 
atid on — they showed no colors, it is therefore impossible to say 
with certainty to what nation they belonged ; but " I guess" 
they were Yankees and no mistake. It is a little over six 
miles from the station to my camp ; the canoe, with a fine 
breeze, came over in exactly thirty-seven minutes. They sail 
beautifully. The quantity of salmon put up this year at Port- 
ago Island, is something almost fabulous. Just now they are 
putting up lobsters in thousands. The salmon are nearly done ; 
that fishery closes by law on the 15th instant. 

" The Micmacs hold a grand Festival at this place every year 
on St. Anne's day, (26th July) — this festival lasted a week this 
year and is just over. There were five hundred Indians here ; 
among them visitors f'-'^^ Cape Breton and Bay Chaleur. Most 
of these have departed; ^^ ^^me thirty or forty revellers remain, 



834 SALMON FISHING. 

who still keep it up among the residents here. Daily pic nics 
to gather berries, with dancing and gambling nearly all night, 
make out the twenty-four hours, quite as well as among those 
who move in higher circles, yet follow the same amusements. 

'^ Saturday morning^ Augu»t 6. This morning at day light, 
an Indian arrived from New Castle with my letters and papers 
— ^a goodly pile. This morning is very hot, and but for the 
delicious sea breeze would be unbearable. The little waves are 
^^apping" on the smooth sand-beach, and all nature seems 
pleased and happy. I have just bought a splendid salmon for 
half a dollar, which is two pence more than the established 
price, the market rate being two and four pence. The English 
shilling passes at one and three pence, so I just paid forty-seven 
cents for the salmon. 

" Sunday^ August 7. In the cool of the evening, Coley and 
I caught thirty-seven trout, and at sunset I received a p%rty of 
visitors from Miramachi. Such a night as we put in ! Such 
songs, speeches, toasts and uproar, I never heard. They all 
slept in camp on the fir boughs, and a more comfortable set of 
gentlei^en you never saw anywhere. We have had an excellent 
breakfast, and now they are out fishing in a boat belonging to 
the Indians. Whilst I stay in camp and look after dinner. 
Bill of Fare settled thus : 
Boiled salmon— oyster sauce. 
Fried bass. 
Lobster, cold. 
Fried trout. 
Fork chips. 
Gold ham. 

Boiled shoulder of pork. 

New potatoes, string beans, Windsor beans, carrots, beets. 
Snipe and plover. 
Blueberries and raspberries. 
" Neither the Astor nor the National ever turned out a better 
breakfast then we had this morning, and I have no fears for 
the dinner. The wigwam is a perfect "^ture to-day, the most 
stylish and sporting thing I ever - 



TROUT FISHING. 



It carries us into the most wild and beautiful scenery of nature ; amongst 

the mountain lakes and the clear and lovely streams that gush from the 

higher ranges of elevated hills, or make their way through the cavities 

of calcareous rocks. 

Sib Huhphrbt Davt. 

Were it not for the salmon we should pronounce the treat 
the ifiost superb game-fish in the world. As the case now 
Btandsy however, we are inclined to believe that he has delighted 
a greater number of anglers than any other inhabitant of the , 
*' liquid plain." The characteristics of this charming fish are 
BO well know that we shall not, on this occasion, enter upon a 
scientific description either of his person or habits. In all the 
particulars of beauty, of color and form, of grace, of activity, 
of intelligence and flavor, as before intimated, he has but one 
rival. He always glories in the coldest and purest of water, 
and the regions of country to which he is partial are commonly 
distinguished for the wildness of their scenery ; and therefore 
it is that to the lover of nature this imperial fish has ever been 
exceedingly dear. Their period of spawning is in the autumn, 
and they recover as early as February, thereby remaining in 
season a part of the winter, as well as the entire spring and 
summer — though the trouting months, par excellence^ are May 
and June. 

In weight, even when fully grown, the difierent varieties of 
trout run from four ounces to sixty pounds, and of the different 
distinct species^found in the United States and Canada, wc are 
acquainted only with the following ! — 



336 



TROUT FISHING. 



The Common^ or Brook and River Trout. — There is hardly 
a cold and rocky stream in any part of the New England or 
Northern States, or among the mountains of the Middle and 
'Southern States, where this species is not found in abundance. 
In regard to weight, they ordinarily vary from three or four 
ounces to two pounds ; and in color, according to the character 
of the brook or river which they inhabit. So apparent is the 
difference of color in this family, that, in the several sections 
of the country where they are found, they are designated by 
the names of silver or fall trout, as in Lake George ; and the 
black trout, as in many of the smaller lakes or Ponds of New 
England. The only civilized mode employed by our people for 
taking them is with the hook ; but, while the scientific angler 
prefers the artificial fly (with an appropriate reel,) large num- 
bers are annually destroyed by the farmer's boys with the com- 
mon hook and red worm. As to the heathenish mode of netting 
this beautiful fish, we can only say that it merits the most ear- 
nest condemnation of every gentleman. The common trout is 
.proverbially one of the most skittish of all the finny tribes ; but 
when he happens to be a little hungry, he is fearless as the 
hawk, and at such times often leaps into the air as if for the 
purpose of defying the cunning of his human enemies. Accord- 
ing to our experience, the best bait for early spring fishing is 
the common worm ; but for June, July, and August, we prefer 
the fly. Sometimes, however, a minnow is preferable to either. 
The great charm of fly fishing for trout is derived from the fact 
that you then see the movement of your fish, and if you are not 
an expert hand, the chances are that you will capture but one 
out of the hundred that may rise to your hook. You can sel- 
dom save a trout unless you strike the very instant that he 
leaps. But, even after this, a deal of care is required to land 
him in safety. If he is a half-pounder, you may pull him out 
directly ; but if larger than that, after fairly hooking him, you 
should play him with your whole line, which, when well done, 
is a feat full of poetry. The swiftness with which a trout can 
dart from his hiding-place after a fly is truly astonishing ; and 
we never see one perform this operation without feeling an in- 



TROUT FISHING. 337 

describable thrill quivering through our frame. The fact that 
this is the only fish in the world which nature has designated 
by a row of scarlet spots along the sides, would seem to imply 
that she deemed it the perfection of her finny creations, and 
had, therefore, fixed upon it this distinguishing mark of her 
skill. 

The Salmon TratU. — Under this head we include all those 
fish of the trout genus which are found only in those lakes of 
GOT country having no connection whatever with the sea. The 
fish now under consideration resembles, in its general appear- 
ance, the legitimate salmon, but is totally unlike it in several 
particulars. The salmon trout, for example, varies in weight 
from three to sixty pounds ; and if everybody is to be believed, 
they have been taken in some of our waters weighing upwards 
of one hundred pounds. They are of much less value than the 
real salmon as an article of food, there being nothing at all 
delicate in the texture or flavor of a mammoth fish. As sport- 
ing fish, too, they are of little value, for they love the gloom of 
deep water, and are not distinguished for their activity. The 
names, besides its own, by which this fish is recognised, are the 
lake trout and the Mackinaw trout ; and, by many people who 
ought to know better, they are often confounded with the gen- 
uine salmon. As is the case with the salmon, they are seldom 
or never found in any of our rivers, but chiefly in the lakes of 
the northern and northwestern States of the Union, being found 
in the greatest numbers at the Straits of Mackinaw, in Lake 
Superior, Lake George, and the other lakes of the Empire 
State, and in Moosehead Lake. 

The Sea Trout — Our idea of this fish is that it is quite at 
home in the "deep, deep sea," but rather partial to the brack- 
ish waters of large rivers and the inland bays of the American 
coast. And also that they vary in weight from three to fifteen 
pounds, and ought to be highly prized as a game fish, their 
flesh being of a rosy hue, and excellent, and their courage and 
strength allied to those of their more aristocratic cousin — the 
salmon. Like the salmon and common trout, too, they scorn 
the more common baits of fishermen, and possess a decided 



888 TROUT FiBHma. 

taste for the fly, albeit thousands of them are taken with the 
shrimp and minnow. The waters where they mostly abound 
are those of the lower St. Lawrence and its tributaries, the bay 
of Cape God, all along the southern shore of Barnstable, the 
entire shore of Martha's Vineyard, and the bays Delaware and 
Chesapeake. So much for the varieties of trout with which we 
are personally acquainted. 

It now behooves us to record some of our experience in trout 
fishing, but we have already published in our books of travel, 
and elsewhere, quite as many j^A stories as will be readily be- 
lieved. We shall, therefore, content ourselves, on this occasion, 
with a brief description of our favorite localities. 

As a matter of course, the first place that we mention in this 
connection is Sault St. Marie, which, for many reasons, is an 
exceedingly attractive place. In the first place, it is the outlet 
to Lake Superior, the largest body of fresh water on the globe. 
It is also the western terminating point of the lake navigation 
of the north. From the earliest periods of our history to the 
present time, it has been, as it were, the starting-place for all 
the fur expeditions by land which have ever penetrated the im- 
mense wilderness bordering on Hudson's Bay and the Arctic 
Ocean. The fall of the river St. Marie at the spot called the 
Sault, is nearly twenty-five feet within the space of half a mile, 
so that from a canoe at the foot of the rapid it presents the ap- 
pearance of a wall of foam. The width of it is reputed to be 
one mile, and on the British side are several beautiful islands, 
covered with hemlock, spruce, and pine, pleasingly intermingled 
with birch. The bed of the river at this point consists chiefly 
of colored sand-stones, the depth varies from ten to perhaps one 
hundred feet, and the water is perpetually cold, and as clear as 
it is possible for any element to be. But what makes the Sault 
particularly attractive to the angler, is the fact that the com- 
mon trout is found here in good condition throughout the year* 
They are taken with the fly, and from boats anchored in the 
more shallow places of the river, as well as from the shore. 
We have known two fishermen to spend an entire day in a sin- 
gle reef, or at one anchorage, and in spite of sunlight and east 



TBOUT FIBHINa. 889 

winds, have known them to capture more than a oart-load of 
the spotted beauties, varying in weight from half a pound to 
three and four. How it is that the fish of this region always 
appear to he in season has never been explained, but we should 
imagine that, either they have no particular time for spawning, 
or that each season brings with it a variety peculiar to itself. 
Those of the present day who visit Sault St. Marie for the pur- 
pose of throwing the fly, ought to be fully prepared with tackle 
and that of the best quality. With regard to the creature com- 
forU obtainable in the village of Sault St. Marie, they will be 
as well supplied as in any other place of the same size equally 
remote from the civilized centre of the world. And when the 
pleasures of trout fishing begin to subside they can relieve the 
monotony of a sojourn here by visiting the Indians in their 
wigwams, and seeing them capture (with nets, in the pure white 
foam) the beautiful white fish ; they may also with little diffi- 
culty visit the copper mines of Lake Superior, or if they would 
do their country service (provided they are Americans,) they 
may indite long letters to members of Congress on the great 
necessity of a ship canal around the falls or rapids of St. Mary. 
And now for the island of Mackinaw. For an elaborate 
description of this spot we refer our readers to any of the nu- 
merous travellers who have published its praises, not forgetting 
by way. of being impartial an account from our own pen alrea- 
dy before the public. The time is rapidly approaching, we 
believe, when this island will be universally considered one of 
the most healthful, interesting, convenient, and fashianable 
watering-places in the whole country. And the naturalists, not 
to say the angler, will find here the celebrated Mackinaw trout 
I in its greatest perfection. And when the Detroit and Chicago 

I steamer runs into the little crescent harbor of the island for the 

I purpose of landing the traveller, and he discovers among the 

people on the dock some half-dozen wheelbarrows laden with 
fish four feet long and weighing fifty or sixty pounds, he must 
not be alarmed at finding those fish to be Mackinaw trout, and 
' not sturgeon, as he might at first have imagined. The truth 

is, the very size' of these fish is an objection to them, for, as 



340 TROUT FISHING. 

they have to be taken in deep water, and with a large cord, 
there is far more of manual labor than sport in taking them. 
But when one of these monsters happens to stray towards the 
shore where the water is not over fifty feet, it is then, through 
the marvellously clear water, exceedingly pleasant to watch 
their movements as they swim about over the beds of pure white 
sand. As before intimated, the Mackinaw trout is far inferior 
to the common trout as an article of food, and to the white fish 
almost infinitely so. 

The .Mackinaw trout (as is the case with all salmon trout) is 
in fine condition throughout the winter months ; and the In- 
dians are very fond of taking them threugh the ice. Their 
manner of proceeding is to make a large hole in the ice, over 
which they erect a kind of wigwam, so as to keep out the light; 
and, stationing themselves above the hole, they lure the trout 
from the bottom by an artificial bait, and when he comes suffi- 
ciently near pick him out with a spear ; and they are also talAn 
with a hook. The voraciousness of the Mackinaw trout at this 
season is said to be astonishing ; and it is recorded of a Cana- 
dian fisherman, that, having lost all his artificial bait by being 
bitten to pieces, he finally resorted to a large jack-knife at- 
tached to a hook which he had in his pocket, and which was 
swallowed by a thirty pound fish. Another anecdote that we 
have heard touching this mode of winter fishing, is as follows, 
and shows the danger with which it is sometimes attended. An 
Indian fisherAan, of renown among the tribes of Lake Supe- 
rior, vhile fishing on this lake in the manner above mentioned, 
at a considerable distance from the shore, was once detached 
with a cake of ice from the shore and carried into the lake by 
the wind, and was never heard of more. Such a death as he 
must have met with it would be difficult to describe. 

But we cannot leave Mackinaw without making a passing 
allusion to the fish whose Indian name is ciscovet. It is a 
handsome fish, unquestionably of the trout family, a bold biter, 
richly flavored, and very beautiful both in symmetry and co- 
lor. They are not very abundant, and are altogether the 
greatest fishy delicacy of this region, excepting the white fish. 



TROUT FISHING. 341 

They weigh from five to ten pounds, and are remarkable for 
their fatness. At the Island of Mackinaw the common trout 
is not found at all, but in all the streams upon the main shore 
of Lake Michigan, which is only a short distance off, they are 
very abundant and very large. 

Another trouting region whose praises we are disposed to 
sing, is that of northern New York, lying between Lake George 
and Long Lake. All the running waters of this section of 
country are abundantly supplied with common trout, and all 
the lakes (which are numerous) with salmon trout. The scenery 
everywhere is of the wildest and most imposing character. The 
two branches of the noble Hudson here take their rise, and al- 
most every rood of their serpentine courses abounds in rapid 
and deep pools, yielding common trout of the largest size. 
But the angler who visits this region must not expect to be 
feasted with the fashionable delicacies of the land, or spend his 
nights in luxuriantly furnished rooms ; he must be a lover of 
salt pork, and well acquainted with the yielding qualities of a 
pine floor. To those of our readers who would become better 
acquainted with the region alluded to, we would recommend 
the interesting description of Charles F. Hoffman, Esq., and 
the spirited, though somewhat fantastic ones of J. T. Head- 
ley, Esq. 

In the " times of old" we have enjoyed ourselves exceed- 
ingly in making piscatorial pilgrimages among the Catskill and 
Shandaken Mountains, but their wilderness glory is rapidly de- 
parting. We can now only recommend this region as abound- 
ing in beautiful as well as magnificent scenery. Now, while we 
think of it, however, we have one little incident to record con- 
nected with Shew's Lake, which beautifies the summit of one 
of the Catskills. Having once caught a large number of small 
common trout in a stream that ran out of this lake, we con- 
ceived the idea that the lake itself must of necessity contain a 
large number of full-grown fish of the same species. With 
this idea in view, we obtained the services of a mountaineer, 
named Hummel, and tried our luck at the lake, by the light of 
the moon, with set-lines and live minnows. During the night 



342 TROUT FISHING. 

we caught no less ^ than forty-two trout, averaging in weight 
over a pound a-piece. We were of course greatly elated at 
this success ; and, having enjoyed quite a romantic expedition, 
we subsequently published an account of the particulars. A 
few days after this, a party of anglers residing in the town of 
Gatskill saw what we had written, and immediately posted off 
to Shew's Lake, for the purpose of spending a night there. 
They did so, and also fished after the same manner that we did, 
and yet did not capture a single trout. They of course returned 
home considerably disgusted, and reported that the lake m 
question was covered with dead eels, that the water was alive 
with lizards, that they saw the glaring eyes of a panther near 
their watch-fire, and that we had been guilty of publishing a false- 
hood. It now becomes us to deny, and in the most expressive 
tone, this rough impeachment, although we fully confess that 
there still hangs a mystery over our piscatorial good fortune. 

If the anglers of New York city are to be believed, there is 
no region in the world like Long Island for common trout. 
We are informed, however, that the fish are here penned up in 
ponds, and that a stipulated sum per head has to be paid for 
all the fish captured. With this kind of business we have 
never had any patience, and we shall therefore refrain from 
commentmg upon the exploits or trespassing upon the exclu- 
sive privileges of the cockney anglers of the empire city. 

But another trouting region, of which we can safely speak 
in the most flattering terms, is that watered by the two princi- 
pal tributaries of the river Thames, in Connecticut, viz., the 
Yantic and the Quinnebaug. It is, in our opinion, more nearly 
allied to that portion of England made famous by Walton in 
his Complete Angler^ than any other in the United States. 
The country is generally highly cultivated, but along nearly all 
its very beautiful streams Nature has been permitted to have 
her own way, and the dark pools are everywhere overshadowed 
by the foliage of overhanging trees. Excepting in the imme- 
diate vicinity of the factories, trout are quite abundant, and 
the anglers are generally worthy members of the gentle brother- 
hood. When the angler is overtaken by night, he never finds 



TROUT FISHIKa. 348 

himself at a loss for a place to sleep ; and it has always'seemed 
to us that the heds of this region have a ^^ smell of lavender." 
The husbandmen whom you meet here are intelligent, and theur 
wives neat, afifable, and polite, understanding the art of pre- 
paring a frugal meal to perfection. • Our trouting recollections 
of this section of New England are manifold, and we would 
part with them most unwillingly. Deadj do we cherish, not 
only recollections of scenery and fishing, but of wild legends 
and strange characters, bright skies, poetic conceptions, and 
fioul-instructing lessons from Nature. Yes, and the secret of 
our attachment to the above-mentioned streams may be found 
in the character of these very associations. What intense en- 
joyment would not Father Walton have derived from their wild 
and superb scenery ! The streams of England are mostly fa- 
mous for the bloody battles and sieges which they witnessed 
for many centuries, and the turreted castles which they lave 
tell us eventful stories of a race of earth-bom kings. But 
many of the streams of our country, even in these days, water 
a virgin wilderness, whose only human denizens are the poor 
but noble Indian tribes, who live, and love, and die in their 
peaceful valleys ; and the unshorn forests, with the luxuriantly 
magnificent mountains, sing a perpetual hymn of praise to One 
who is above the sky, and the King of kings. 

Of all the New England States, however, (albeit much might 
be written in praise of Vermont and New Hampshire, with their 
glorious Green and White Mountains,) we believe that Maine is 
altogether the best supplied. In the head-waters of the Penob- 
scot and Kennebec, the common trout may be found by the 
thousand ; and in Moosehead Lake, as before stated, salmon 
trout of the largest size and in great numbers. This is even a 
more perfect wilderness than that in the northern part of New 
York, and it is distinguished not only for its superb scenery, 
but its fine forests afford an abundance of large game, such as 
moose, deer, bears, and wolves, which constitute a most decided 
attraction to those disciples of the gentle art who have a little 
of the fire of Nimrod in their natures. 

The Middle States c/f the Union are also not without their 



344 TROUT FISHING. 

attractions to the angler. In the Juniata, the most picturesque 
stream in Pennsylvania, and in the tributaries of the Yougha- 
gany and Cheat rivers in Virginia, I have caught trout by the 
hundred, — ^beautiful trout and large. Like those in nearly all 
our mountain districts, the accommodations for shelter and food 
are poor among the Alleghanies ; but the log-cabins are pic- 
turesque, the sable pilots whom you have to employ interest- 
ing to study, and purer air or mellower sunshine are nowhere 
to be enjoyed. 

Another region towards which we would direct the attention 
of our readers, is that portion of Canada lying on the north shore 
of the St. Lawrence. At the mouth of all the streams here 
emptying into the great river, and especially at the mouth of 
the Saguenay, the sea trout is found in its greatest perfection. 
They vary from five to fifteen pounds, and are taken with the 
fly. But what makes the fishing for them particularly interest- 
ing is the fact, that when the angler strikes a fish it is impos- 
sible for him to tell, before he has seen his prize, whether he 
has captured a salmon trout, a mammoth trout, common trout, 
(which are here found in brackish or salt water,) or a magnifi- 
cent salmon, glistening in his silver mail. 






\ 



\ 



BASS FISHING. 



We delight, as all the world has long well known, in every kind of 
fishing, from the whale to the minnow. — Christopher North. 

The beautiful fish now chosen for our " subject theme" is a 
genuine native Amerieariy and ranks high among the game fish 
of the country. When fully grown, he is commonly about 
fifteen inches long, two inches in thickness, and some five 
inches broad, weighing perhaps five or six pounds. He belongs 
to the perch family, has a thick oval head, a swallow tail, 
sharp teeth, and small scales. In color, he is deep black along 
the back and sides, growing lighter and somewhat yellowish 
towards the belly« He has a large mouth, and is a bold biter, 
feeds upon minnows and insects, is strong and active, and, when 
in season, possesses a fine flavor. He spawns in the spring, 
recovers in July, and is in his prime in September. 

The black bass is peculiarly a Western and Southern fish, 
and is not known in any of the rivers which connect immedi- 
ately with the Atlantic Ocean. They are found in great abun- 
dance in the upper Mississippi and its tributaries, in all the 
great lakes excepting Superior, in the upper St. Lawrence, 
especially at the Thousand Islands, the tributaries of the Ohio, 
in Lake Champlain and Lake George, and nearly all the smaller 
lakes of New York. In portions of the last-named State they 
are called the Oswego bass, in the southwest the black perch, 
and in the northwest, where they are most abundant, the black 
bass. In nearly all the waters where they abound has it been 
our good fortune to angle for this fish, and his very name is 

VOL. n. — X 



346 BASS FISHING. 

• 

associated with much of the most beautiful scenery in the land. 
Our own experience, however, in bass fishing, is chiefly iden- 
tified with Lake George, Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, and the 
upper Mississippi, and to these waters alone it is our purpose 
to devote a few paragraphs. 

And first, as to the beautiful " Horicon" of the North. Em- 
bosomed as it is among the wildest of mountains, and rivaling, 
as do its waters, the blue of heaven, it is indeed all that could 
be desired, and in every particular worthy of its fame. Although 
this lake is distinguished for the number and variety of its 
trout, I am inclined to believe that the black bass found here 
afford the angler the greatest amount of sport. They are taken 
during the entire summer, and by almost as great a variety of 
methods as there are anglers ; trolling with a minnow, however, 
and fishing with a gaudy fly from the numerous islands in the 
lake, are unquestionably the two most successful methods. As 
before intimated, the bass is a very active fish, and, excepting 
the salmon, we know of none that perform, when hooked, such 
desperate leaps out of the water. They commonly frequent 
the immediate vicinity of the shores, especially those that are 
rocky, and are seldom taken where the water is more than 
twenty feet deep. They commonly lie close to the bottom, 
ri3e to the minnow or fly quite as quickly as the trout, and are 
not as easily frightened by the human form. 

The late William Caldwell, who owned an extensive estate 
at the Southern extremity of Lake George, was the gentleman 
who first introduced us to the bass of the said lake, and we 
shall ever remember him as one of the most accomplished and 
gentlemanly anglers we have ever known. He was partial to 
the trolling method of fishing, however, and the manner in 
which he performed a piscatorial expedition was somewhat 
unique and romantic. His right hand man on all occasions 
was a worthy mountaineer, who lived in the vicinity of his 
mansion, and whose principal business was to take care of the 
angler's boat, and row him over the lake. For many years did 
this agreeable connection exist between Mr. Caldwell and his 
boatman, and, when their fishing days were over, was happily 



BASS FISHING. 847 

terminated by the deeding of a handsome farm to the latter by 
his munificent employer. But we intended to describe one of 
Mr. Galdweirs excursions. 

It is a July morning, and our venerable angler, with his 
boatman, has embarked in his feathery skifi*. The lake is thirty- ' 
three miles long, and it is his intention to perform its entire 
circuit, thereby voyaging at least seventy miles. He purposes 
to be absent about a week, and having no less than half a dozen 
places on the lake shore where he can find a night's lodging, he 
is in no danger of being compelled to camp out. His little 
vessel is abundantly supplied *with fishing tackle, as well as the 
substantial of life, and some of its liquid luxuries. He and 
Care have parted company, and his heart is now wholly open 
to the influences of nature, and therefore buoyant as the boat 
which bears him over the translucent waters. The first day 
his luck is bad, and he tarries at a certain point for the purpose 
of witnessing the concluding scene of a deer hunt, and hearing 
the successful hunter expatiate upon ^is exploits and the quality 
of his hounds. On the second day the wind is from the south, 
and he secures no less than twenty of the finest bass on the 
lake. On the third day he also has good luck, but is greatly 
annoyed by thunder showers, and must content himself with 
one of the late magazines which he has brought along for such 
emergencies. The fifth and sixth days he has some good fish- 
ing, and spends them at Garfield's landing (for the reader must 
know that there is a tiny steamboat on Lake George,) where 
he has an opportunity of meeting a brotherhood of anglers, 
who are baiting for the salmon trout ; and the seventh day he 
probably spends quietly at Lyman's Tavern, in the companion- 
ship of an intellijgent landscape painter (spending the summer 
there,) arriving at home on the following morning. 

As to our own experience in regard to bass fishing in Lake 
George, we remember one incident in particular which illus- 
trates an interesting truth in natural history. We were on a 
trouting expedition, and happened to reach the lake early in 
June, before the bass were in season, and we were stopping 
with our friend Mr. Lyman, of Lyman's Point, The idea hav- 



348 BASS FISHING. 

ing occurred to us of spearing a few fish by torchlight, we 
secured the services of an experienced fisherman, and, with a 
boat well supplied with fat pincj we launched ourselves on the 
. quiet waters of the lake about an hour after sundown. Bass 
were very abundant, and we succeeded in killing some half 
dozen of a large size. We found them exceedingly tame, and 
noticed, when we approached, that they were invariably alone, 
occupying the centre of a circular and sandy place among the 
rocks and stones. We inquired the cause of this, and were 
told that the bass were casting their spawn, and that the cir- 
cular places were the beds where, the young were protected. 
On hearing this, our conscience was somewhat troubled by what 
we had been doing, but we resolved to take one more fish and 
then go home. We now came to a large bed, around the edge 
of which we discovered a number of very small fish, and over 
the centre of the bed a very large and handsome bass was 
hovering. We darted our spear, and only wounded the poor 
fish. Our companion then told us, that if we would go away 
for fifteen minutes, and then return to the same spot, we should 
^have another chance at the same fish. We did so, and the pre- 
<diction was realized. We threw the spear again, and again 
flailed in killing our game, though we succeeded in nearly cut- 
rtiijg the fish in two pieces. " You will have the creature yet ; 
letius go away again," said my companion. We did so, and 
ilo!!fto our utter astonishment, we again saw the fish, all muti- 
lated ;and torn, still hovering over its tender ofiispring ! To 
relieve it of its pain, we darted the spear once more, and the 
'bass ley in our boat quite dead ; and we returned to our lodg- 
Jngs on that night a decidedly unhappy man. We felt^ with 
the ancient mariner^ that we ^^had done a hellish deedy'^ and 
most bitterly did we repent our folly. Ever since that time 
have w<eielt a desire to atone for our wickedness, and we trust 
that the -shade of Izaak Walton will receive our humble con- 
fession as.^n atonement. The bass that we took on the night 
in question, owing to their being out of season, were not fit to 
eat, and vwe had not even the plea of palatable food to ofier. 
The matenMl afiection of that black bass for its helpless ofi*- 




BA8S FiSHuro. 349 

spring, which it protected even unto death, has ever seemed to 
US in strict keeping with the loveliness and holiness of universal 
nature. 

And now with regard to Lake Erie. We know not of a 
single prominent river emptying into this lake in which the 
black bass is not found in considerable numbers. The sport 
which they yield to the disciples of Walton at the eastern ex- 
tremity of the lake, has been described by George W. Clinton, 
Esq., of Buffalo, in a series of piscatorial letters, published in 
the journals of that city ; and, as we would not interfere with 
him while throwing the fly in his company on the same stream, 
neither will we trespass upon that literary ground which he has 
so handsomely made his own. When, however, we hear the 
green waves of Lake Erie washing its western shores, we feel 
that we have a right to be heard, for in that region, when it 
was for the most part a lonely wilderness, did we first behold 
the light of this beautiful world. With the windings of the 
Sandusky, the Maumee, the Huron, and the Detroit rivers, we 
are quite familiar, and we know that they all yield an abundance 
of black bass ; but with the river Raisin, we are as well ac- 
quainted as a child could be with its mother's bosom. Upon 
this stream was the home of our boyhood, and at the bare men- 
tion of its name, unnumbered recollections flit across the mind, 
which to our hearts are inexpressibly dear. 

Even when a mere boy we esteemed the black bass as a peer 
among his fellows,, and never can we forget our first prize. We 
had seated oureelf at the foot of an old sycamore, directly on 
the margin of the River Raisin, and among its serpent-like 
roots we were fishing for a number of tiny rock bass that we 
had chanced to discover there. We baited with a worm, and 
while doing our utmost to capture a two-ounce fish, we were 
suddenly frightened by the appearance of a black bass, which 
took our hook, and was soon dangling in the top of a neighbor- 
ing bush. Our delight at this unexpected exploit was un- 
bounded, and, after bothering our friends with an account of it 
until the night was far spent, we retired to bed, and in our 
dreams caught the same poor fish over and over again until 



350 BASS FISHINO. 

morning. From that day to this, rivers and fish have haunted 
us like a passion. 

Like the trout, the black bass seems to be partial to the more 
roniantic and poetical places in the rivers which they frequent. 
On the River Raisin, for example, we used to enjoy the rarest 
of sport at an old and partly dilapidated mill-dam, which was 
covered with moss, and at the foot of which were some of the 
nicest " deep holes*' imaginable. Wherever the timbers of the 
dam formed a " loop-hole of retreat," there we were always 
sure of finding a bass. And we also remember an old mill, in 
whose shadowy recesses, far down among the foundation tim- 
bers, the bass delighted to congregate, and where we were wont 
to spend many of our Saturday afternoons ; but our favorite 
expeditions were those which occupied entire days, and led us 
along the banks of the Raisin, in the vicinity of its mouth, and 
far beyond the hearing of the mill-wheel or the clink of the 
blacksmith's anvil. At such times, the discovery of old sunken 
logs was all that we cared for, for we knew that the bass de- 
lighted to spend the noontide hours' in their 8ha(}ow. And 
when we could borrow a canoe, and obtain a foothold on the 
extreme point of a wooded island, so as to angle in the deep 
dark holes, we seldom failed in realizing all the enjoyment that 
we anticipated. And, if we chanced to come across a party of 
fishermen drawing the seine, we were sure to forget our promise 
to our parents to return home before sundown, and, far too 
often for a good boy, did we remain with them even until the 
moon had taken her station in the sky. To count the fish thus 
captured, and to hear the strange adventures and exploits 
talked over by these fishermen, was indeed a delightful species 
of vagabondizing ; and we usually avoided a very severe scold- 
ing by returning home "with one of the largest bass ever caught 
in the river,'* which Ve may have taken with the hook or pur- 
chased of the fishermen. But we are talking of the " times of 
the days of old," and as we remember that the glories of the 
River Raisin, in regard to its scenery and its fish, are forever 
departed, we hasten to other waters. 

In fancy we have now crossed the peninsula of Michigan, or 



BASS FISHIKO. 351 

atnpassed it by means of the splendid steamers which 
the waters of Huron and Michigan, and we are now 
)anks of the river St. Joseph. This is a small river, 
aestionablj one of the moat beautiful in the western 
It runs through an exceedingly fertile country, abounds 
:ant islands, is invariably as clear as crystal, and in its 
inding to an uncommon degree. It is navigable for 
eamboats to the village of Niles, fifty miles from its 
kud for batteaux somewhere about fifty miles further 
its source. Early in the spring it abounds in the 
mmoD varieties of fresh-water fish, but throughout the 
and autumn it yields the black bass in the greatest 
ce. 

iacatortal experience upon the St. Joseph has not been 
ensive, bat we deem it worthy of a passing notice. We 
our way to the " Far West," and had been waylaid in 
tiful village of Niles by one of the fevers of the conn- 
le physician who attended us was a genuine angler, and 
re that our speedy recovery was owing almost entirely 
ipkal fish stories with which he regaled us during that 
rtable period. Be that as it may, one thing we very 
■eraember, which is this ; that we enjoyed for one after- 
me of the most remarkable boss fiabing in his company 
have ever experienced. It was in September, and we 
ced fishing at three o'clock. We baited with live min- 
hed with hand lines, and from a boat which was firmly 
1 at a bend of the river, and just above a long and very 
e, two miles above the village of Niles. Our lines were 
of a hundred feet long, and as the current was very 
e pulling in of our minnows was performed with little 
The sun was shining brightly, and the only sounds 
)ated in the air were the singing of birds, the rustling 
rest leaves, and the gentle murmuring of the waters 
glided along the luxuriant banks of the stream. We 
little more than two hours, but in that time we caught 
than ninety-two bass, a dozen of which weighed over 
ids, and the great majority not less than two pounds. 



852 BASS FISHINQ. 

Such remarkable luck had never been heard of before in that 
vicinity, and of course, for several days thereafter the river was 
covered with boats ; but, strange to say, nearly all the anglers 
returned home disappointed. On a subsequent occasion, the 
doctor and his patient made another trial at their favorite spot, 
but succeeded in taking only a single fish, from which circum- 
stance we came to the conclusion that we had actually cleared 
that portion of the river of its fishy inhabitants. 

Before quitting the St. Joseph, we ought to state that its 
beautiful tributaries, the Pipe Stone and the Faw*Paw, afford a 
superior quality of bass, and that no pleasanter fishing-ground 
can anywhere be found than at the mouth of the parent river 
itself. With regard to the other principal rivers of Western 
Michigan, we can only say that the Kalamazoo and the Grand 
river are not one whit behind the St. Joseph in any of those 
charms which win the affections of the angler and the lover of 
nature. 

We come now to speak of the Upper Mississippi, in whose 
translucent water, as before stated, the black bass is found in 
" numbers numberless." Not only do they abound in the river 
itself and its noble tributaries, but also in the lakes of the entire 
region. The only people who angle for them, however, are the 
travellers who occasionally penetrate into this beautiful wilder- 
ness of the Northwest. Generally speaking, the bass, as well 
as all other kinds of fish, are taken by the Indians with a 
wooden spear, and more to satisfy hunger than to enjoy the 
sport. The angler who would cast a fly above Fort Snelling 
must ezpect to spend his nights in an Indian lodge instead of 
a white-washed cottage, to repose upon a bearskin instead of 
a bed (such as Walton loved) which " smells of lavender," and 
to hear the howl of the wolf instead of a ^^ milk-maid's song." 

In all the lakes an^ streams of Florida, Alabama, and Mis- 
sissippi, the black bass are abundant, constituting, indeed, the 
only genuine game of the region ; but they are there errone- 
ously called trout. They attain in Florida the jireight of fifteen 
pounds and are good eating. 

As our piscatorial recollections of the Upper Mississippi are 



BAS8 FISfllHQ. . 858 

not particularly interesting, and as it is attracting much atten- 
tion at the profl^it time, (1849) under the new name of Minne" 
MotOj or 'Turbid Water, we shall conclude our essay with the 
following general description. 

According to the final profrisions of the Act of Congress which 
has lately transferred this extensire wilderness into a Territory 
of the United States, it is bounded on the north by the British 
possessions, on the east by Lake Superior and the State of 
Wisconsin, on the south by the State of Iowa, and on the west 
by the Missouri river and the extensive possessions of the In- 
dians. The surface of the country is generally level, and it 
has been estimated that at least two-thirds of its area consists 
of prairie land, the remainder being forest. Much of the soil 
is fertile, and easy of cultivation. It is watered by no less than 
six of the most superb rivers on the face of the earth — the 
Mississippi and Missouri, River An Jacques, the St. Peter's, or 
Minnesota River, the Red River, emptying into Hudson's Bay^ 
and the St. Louis, emptying into Lake Superior. Were it not 
for the Falls of St. Mary (a canal having been built around 
those of Niagara,) a vessel sailing from the city of New York, 
by die St. Lawrence and the great lakes, might deposit her 
merchandise almost within its very heart ; while it is a well- 
known fact that a New Orleans steamer may, by the Mississippi 
and Missouri rivers, transport the products of the South to its 
more remote extremities. The two facts, that Minnesota is 
lared by the waters of the largest lake in the world, and that 
in its very centre are located at least a thousand lesser lakes, 
which constitute the fountain-head of the Father of Waters, are 
in themselves sufficient to give it a world-wide reputation. In 
addition to all this, the climate of this territory is all that could 
be desired. The winters are, indeed, somewhat long and cold, 
but they are regular ; and, as to the summers, we have never 
witnessed any that were to us so bracing and delightful. The 
dreaded ague is a stranger in this region, and the very night 
airs seem to inci:ease the strength of the voyageurs and Indian 
traders, who, for ths most part, are the only civilized inhabi- 
tants of the domain. Game is found in the greatest abundance, 
from the buffalo to the deer and the grouse, and there is no 



854 BASS FISHING. 

region in the world where can be found a greater variety of 
fresh-water fish. 

The Indian population is by far the most extensive 'now ex- 
isting within its limits, but the nations are only two in number, 
the Ghippewas and the Sioux. The wrongs which these unfor- 
tunate children of the wilderness have for many years past 
endured from the more unprincipled traders are among the 
blackest crimes of the white man, and it is to be most sincerely 
hoped that a new order of things will now be brought about 
which may in some slight degree atone for those wrongs. To 
us, who have been a devoted lover of the red man, even from 
childhood, the fact that the race is literally withering from the 
land of their fathers is indeed depressing and sickening. With 
all his faults, we dearly love the poor neglected and deeply- 
wronged Indian, and we verily believe that our beloved country 
can never prosper, as it might, until we have done something 
to atone for the unnumbered outrages committed against the 
race by our more unworthy citizens. But we are wandering. 

With regard to the towns or villages existing at the present 
time in Minnesota, we can offer but little. So far as we now 
remember, they consist of only three : Fond du Lac, on the 
St. Louis, a mere trading post ; St. Peter's, at the mouth of 
the river of that name, distinguished as the site of Fort Snell- 
ing, as being within five or six miles of the Falls of St. An- 
thony, and at the head of steamboat navigation ; and the hamlet 
of St. Paul, which is on the west side of the Mississippi, only 
about six miles below the mouth of the St. Peter's. The fact 
that the last-named place has been selected as the seat of go- 
vernment of the new Territory renders it of some interest. It 
is situated on a bluflF which rises some fifty feet above the Mis- 
sissippi, and, though flanked by a thinly-wooded, or rather 
prairie country, the soil is fertile, and the scenery both up and 
down the Mississippi is exceedingly beautiful. Unlike that 
running south of the Missouri, this portion of the great river is 
invariably translucent, and for many reasons is interesting to 
an uncommon degree. Steamboats drawing only a few inches 
of water navigate this portion of the river during the whole 
summer. When we visited St. Paul (1846) the majority of its 



BASS FISHING. 355 

dwellings, if not all, (numbering not more than half a dozen,) 
were built of logs, and, though very comfortable, were not par- 
ticularly showy. At that time, too, the only business carried 
on there was that of trading with the Indians. Our most vivid 
recollections of the place are associated with a supper that we 
enjoyed in the cabin of the principal trader. We had lost our- 
self in travelling by land from Lake St. Croix to the village, 
and for many hours before our arrival we had been in a par- 
ticularly hungry mood. We entered St. Paul just as the sun 
was setting ; and it so happened that, on the very outskirts of 
the place, we chanced to kill a couple of young coons. A por- 
tion of one of these animals, fried in its own fat, with a dish of 
tea, constituted our supper, and a more truly satisfactory sup- 
per we have hardly ever enjoyed, albeit we have been quite an 
extensive traveller in the wilderness. If the citizens of St- 
Paul only welcomed their newly-appointed Governor by giving 
him a coon supper, we feel confident that he was well pleased 
with the reception. 

As to the agricultural products, we cannot speak with much 
confidence. Wild rice, we know, grows in great abundance, 
and is the staple article of food with the Indians. For corn, 
the climate is considered rather cold ; but potatoes and the 
more common vegetables grow to perfection. In many parts 
the maple-tree predominates, and a fine sugar is produced in 
considerable quantities. The principal timbers are pine and a 
dwarfish oak. The only Alpine region of Minnesota is that 
which lies upon Lake Superior, and the beautiful mountains 
which here kiss the blue of heaven are invariably covered with 
a miscellaneous forest ; and, if half the stories we have heard 
are true, they must abound in the valuable minerals of copper 
and silver. 

Those of our readers who may desire further information in 
regard to the Territory of Minnesota would do well to consult 
the following authorities, viz.. General Pike, who travelled 
through the region in 1806 ; Henry R. Schoolcraft's Travels, 
both in 1820 and 1882 ; Major Long, who visited Leech Lake 
in 1823 ; and M. Nicolet, whose map of the region is exceed- 
ingly valuable. 



ROOK FISHINO. 



Of recreations, there is none 
So free as fishing is alone ; 
All other pastimes do no less 
Than mind and body both possess: 
My hands alone my work can do, 
So I can fish and study too. 

IsAAK Walton. 

We consider the rock-fish, or striped bass, one of the finest 
game fish to be found in American waters. From all that we 
pan learn, it is peculiar to this country, and to particular sec- 
tions, not being found farther north than Maine, nor farther 
south than the Carolinas or Georgia, where it is known as the 
rock-fish. 'It varies in weight from six ounces to one hundred 
pounds ; and though a native of the ocean, it spends a portion 
of every year in the fresh water rivers — ^yet it seems to be 
partial to the mouths of our larger estuaries. Our naturalists 
have pronounced it a member of the perch family, and doubt^ 
less with scientific propriety ; but we have seen a bass that 
would outweigh at least four score of the largest perch found 
in the country. The rock is a thick-set and solid fish, having 
a strong bony mouth, and sharp teeth. In color, it varies frbm 
a deep green on the back to a rich silvery hue on the belly, 
and its scales are large and of a metallic lustre. But the dis- 
tinguishing feature of this fish consists in the striped appear- 
ance of its body. Running from the head nearly to the tail, 
there are no less than eight regularly marked lines, which in 
the healthy fish are of a deep black. Its eyes are white, head 



ROCK FISHING. 857 

rather long, and the under jaw protrudes beyond the upper 
one^ somewhat after the manner of the pike. The strength of 
the bass is equal to that of the salmon, but in activity it is un- 
doubtedly inferior. As an article of food, it is highly valued, 
and in all the Atlantic cities invariably commands a good price. 
The spawning time of this fish we have not positively ascer- 
tained, though we believe it to be in the spring or early sum- 
mer. The New York markets are supplied with them through- 
out the year, but it is unquestionably true that they are in 
their prime in the autumn. The smaller individuals frequent 
the eddies of our rivers, while those of a larger growth seem to 
have a fancy for the reefs along the coast. On the approach 
of winter, they do not strike for the deep water, but find a ;re- 
sidence in the bays and still arms of the sea^ -where they remain 
until the following spring. . They begin to take the hook in 
April, and, generally speaking, afford the angler any quantity 
of sport until the middle of November. For the smaller fish 
at the North, the shrimp and minnow are the most successful 
baits ; and for the larger individuals nothing can be better 
than the skin of an eel, neatly fastened upon a squid. The 
river fisherman requires a regular equipment of salmon tackle, 
while he who would capture the monsters of the ocean, only 
needs a couple of stout Kirby hooks, a small sinker, a very 
long and heavy line, a gaff hook, and a surf boat. But those 
who capture the bass for lucrative purposes, resort to the fol- 
lowing more effectual methods : first by using set-lines, and 
secondly, by the employment of gill-nets and the seine. The 
sport of taking a twenty-pound bass in a convenient river is 
allied to that of capturing a salmon, but as the former is not a 
very skittish fish, the difficulties are not so great. As before 
intimated, all our* Atlantic rivers, from the Penobscot to the 
Savannah, are regularly visited by the bass ; but we are in- 
clined to believe that they are found in the greatest abundance 
and perfection along the shores of Connecticut, Rhode Island, 
Massachusetts, and Maine. At any rate, our own experience 
has been confined to this region ; and though we remember 
with unfeigned pleasure our success in taking the larger varie- 



858 ROCK FISHINa. 

ties along the shores of Martha's Vineyard, at Montauk Point, 
and in the vicinity of Watch Hill, yet we are disposed to yield 
the palm to Block Island. This out-of-the-way spot of the 
green earth belongs to Rhode Island, comprises a whole county 
of that State, and lies about forty miles from the main shore. 
It is nine miles in length, and varies in width from three to 
four miles. It is quite hilly, with an occasional rocky shore, 
contains a number of salt-water ponds, and is covered with a 
scanty growth of trees and other vegetation. The male inha- 
bitants, numbering only a few hundred souls, are devoted ex- 
clusively to the fishing business, and they are as amiable and 
honest at heart, as they are rude and isolated in their manner 
of life. Block Island sailors frequently find their way to the 
remotest quarters t)f the globe, though few who were born upon 
the island ever become entirely weaned from its ocean-girt 
shores. The Block Island fishermen build their own smacks, 
and as these are about the only things they do manufacture, 
they have acquired remarkable skill in building swift vessels, 
which arc also distinguished for their strength and safety. 

The pleasantest time to kill bass at Block Island is in the 
month of October, and immediately after a severe gale, for 
then it is that the larger fish seek a sheltering place between 
the reefs and the shore. And if the angler would be certain 
of success, he ought to be upon the water before sunrise, or at 
the break of day. He must have only one companion, a stal- 
wart Block Islander, whose duty it shall be to steady the boat, 
as she dashes along upon the restless bosom of the ground- 
swell, so that, with his legs carefully braced, he can throw his 
squid to a great distance, instead of being thrown himself into 
the sea. And if an occasional shark should stray into the vici- 
nity of his boat, he must not sufier himself to be alarmed, for 
a single discharge from the fisherman's pistol (which he usually 
carries for that purpose) 'will be sure to frighten the monster 
out of his way. Gulls without number, large and small, of a 
dark-gray and a pure white, will be sure to fly screaming above 
his head, and their wild chorus will mingle well with the mo- 
notonous war of the waves as they sweep upon the slTore. The 



ROce FISHINQ. 869 

e attendant upon this mode of fiahmg is uncominonly 
; and if the angler should happen to strike a forty- 
er, he will be perfectly satisfied with that single prize ; 
his Inck should lie among the smaller variety he ought to 
itent with about half a dozen specimens, weighing from 
> fifteen pounds, which would probably be the result of 
lorning's expedition. On returning to the shore, the 
: will find himself in a most impatient mood for break- 
but with a view of enhancing the anticipated enjoyment, 
ould first throw aside bis clothes and make a number of 
es in the pure white surf, which will cause him to feci as 
; and supple as a leopard. 

did think of commenting upon Block Island as a most 
; place to study the mighty ocean, for the waves which 
its shores come from the four quarters of the globe. It 
spens, however, that we have just been reading a passage 
admirable little volume entitled " The Owl Creek LeU 
(the author is a man after onr own heart,) which was 
n at Block Island, and we are sure the passage in ques- 
fO«ld " take the wind out of any sail" that our pen might 
ce. The passage alluded to is as follows : — 
len speak of our ' mother the earth.' But I never could 
ciate the metaphor. A hard mother is old Terra, She 
i3 US food, save when compelled by hard struggling with 
nd then yields it reluctantly. She deceives us too often, 
inally takes us, when worn and weary, only by the diffi- 
igging of a grave. 

tut the ocean is mother-like, singing songs to us continu- 
and telling a thousand legends to our baby ears. She 
up toys to us on every shore, bright shells and pebbles, 
t else do we live for ?} True, maniac as she is, she some- 
raves madly and hurls her children from her arms, but 
ow instantly she clasps them again close, close to her 
Qg bosom, and how calmly and quietly they sleep there — 
) sings to them — nor wake again to sorrow." 
to baas fishing in the vicinity of New York, where scien- 
,Dglers are abundant, it aSbrds us pleasure to give our' 



860 ROCK FISHIKa. 

readers the following account, written at our request by G. C. 
Scott, Esq., who is distinguished for his love and practical 
knowledge of the gentle art. 

^^ The weather and the tide are in our favor, and the moon 
all right-^for this planet, you must know, always gives the 
bass an excellent appetite and great activity. Speaking of its 
influence upon the appetite of fish, reminds me that those in the 
waters near the ocean bite best when- the moon is new ; whilst 
salt water fish which are up the creeks and near to fresh water, 
are killed in the greatest number during high tides, and imme- 
diately after a hard ^ nor'-easter,' when the wind has shifted to 
the north-west. You may prove these facts without going half 
a dozen miles from old Gotham, and I have always noticed that 
it is better fishing in the ' Kills' and at the hedges of Newark 
Bay, as well as at those in the lower part of the Bay of New 
York, when the tide is high ; while the fishing at King's Bridge 
and the mouth of Spiting Devil is always best at extreme low 
tides. 

'^ As we are out after bass, suppose we ^ make a day of it,' 
and first try the bridge at Haerlam Dam. Being an angler 
yourself, you know of course that much depends upon bait, and 
we will want to use the best. As it is the month of August, 
we will purchase a few shedder crabs in the market ; an3 if we 
find shrimp necessary, we can procure enough of them at either 
of the fishing-grounds. During the spring, I use shad roes for 
bass bait ; but in summer, and until the first of October, I pre- 
fer shedder crab ; after that, I use shrimp and soft-shell clams. 
Some anglers prefer shrimp at all seasons, as it is well known 
that small bass are more generally taken with them ; but for 
my part, give me shedder crabs enough, and I will agree to 
forego the use of all other kinds of bait for bass. Next, you 
may want to know how to rig your tackle. Where we are go- 
ing to-day, you want nothing but a good bass rod, reel, and 
float, with a single gut leader, to which you fasten a hook and 
attach it to the line one-third of its length from the hook. Use 
your float only when the tide runs slowly, for bottom-fishing is 
the best for large fish, unless you troll for them when you use 



BOCK FisHtna. 861 

fish in the Bronx with regnlar trolling tackle, of 
tngth to land a fieh weighing one hundred and fifty 
thej are sometimea caught there of that weight, 
J from thirty to eighty pounds, 
.ving arrived at King's Bridge, and as it is about 
will first Bee what we can kill from the east bridge. 

fishing, for it is so fine to pay ont line from ; and 
ing a fish thirty yards off, there is so much sport 
m, and your being such a distance above the water, 
y fasten him at the first bite. Reel off ! reel off ! 
ruck him ! There ! give him play, but feel his 
Et him contend for every inch of line that you give 
ill take the whole of it without exhamttng himself, 
1 lose him. Keep him in slack water, and after 
until you kill him, land him on the shore, for he 

to risk your tackle in raising him to the bridge. 
iving fished out the last of the ebb and the turn, 
le runs too fast to use a float, just step into this 

will anchor out near to the edge of the current, 
land below the mill, and fish in the current without 
il the tide turns, when we will make for the mouth 
g Devil, and fish fifty rods below it in the Hudson. 
T friend, this day's sport may be considered a f«r 

these grounds. We have taken between twenty 
ass, but there is only one that weighs over five 
their average weight will not vary much from half 
5ht we will troll in the Bronx, for if the sky be 
ss will bite sooner at a s((uid ' by the light of the 
in the day-time ; and there is very little use in 
;ry M'Comb's Dam, as the sport will not be firsts 
itil the Croton aqueduct is finished and the coffer 

away, so that the fish may have a clear run and 

passage between the East and Hudson rivers. It 
hat this will be effected next year, when M'Comb's 
grieve its lost honors, and furnish one of the best 
sort in this vicinity to those who prefer bridge 



862 KOCE FISHIKG. 

• 

^^ HayiDg given you a taste of the sport on the waters bound- 
ing this island on the north and east, let us to-day fasten our 
punt to the lower hedges of New York Bay, and try the dif- 
ference between ^ bottom fishing,' and that ' with the float.' I 
will remark, in passing, that it is better to anchor your punt 
about a rod above the hedge and fish towards the hedge without 
a float, than to fasten your boat to the hedge, as commonly 
practised, and fish with a float ; for you will notice that while 
you, in the old way, are continually reeling up and making 
casts, I am feeling for them with a moving bait towards the 
bottom, and as near the hedges as I can venture without get- 
ting fast. And then when I strike, I am sure to fasten them 
as they turn from me for the shelter of the hedge. I can also 
better play my bait without the danger of too much slack. You 
will see also that I kill the largest fish. 

<< Let us now up anchor and way for the Ealls and to the 
reef opposite Port Richmond. Here the fish are about as large 
as those at the hedges we just left. The tide is nearly full, 
and we will fish without the float until it is about to turn, when 
we will move over to the Jersey shore, about fifty rods below 
the mouth of Newark Bay. Here, as the tide is just in the 
turn, we can fish an hour of the ebb with floats, when it will be 
best to try bottom-fishing again. Well, if you are tired of kill- 
ing younglings, varying from one to three pounds, let us put 
the punt about and prepare for a beautiful row up to the third, 
ourth, and fifth hedges in Newark Bay — trying each one — ^and 
we may strike some fish that will try our tackle. Change your 
leader for a heavier one, and let go the anchor, for we are three 
rods above the hedge. The water is quite slack, and we will 
try the float until the tide ebbs a little more and the current 
becomes more rapid. There, sir, what think you of that ? He 
feels heavy — see him spin ! take care of your line or he'll get 
foul, as I cannot govern him, and it will be with great difficulty 
that I keep him out of the hedge. What a splendid leap ! I'll 
see if I can turn him — ^here he comes — take the landing net — 
there ! there, we have him, and I will bet the champagne that 
he weighs nearer twenty pounds than ten ! 



ROCK FISHIKO. 868 




<i 



Thas, my friend, having shown yon the principal grounds, 
and informed you of the bait and tackle to be used in killing 
bass in this vicinity, I hope that you will not be at loss for 
piscatorial sport when trying your skill in the waters of old 
Gotham.'' 

It is now time tHat we should say something about bass or 
rock fishing in the South. The only streams frequented by 
this fish, of whit^h we have any personal knowledge, are the 
Potomac and Roanoke, though we have heard many wonderful 
stories related of the James River and the Great Pedee. In 
speaking of the Potpmac we are sorely tempted to indite an 
episode upon the beautiful and magnificent sweeps which this 
river makes after it leaves the gorge of Harper's Ferry until 
it loses itself in Chesapeake Bay, and also upon its historical 
associations, among which the genius of Washington reigns su- 
preme — ^but it is our duty to forbear, for we should occupy too 
much time. 

Unquestionably, the finest rock-ground on the Potomac is 
the place known as the Little Falls, about four miles above 
Georgetown. At this point the river is only fifty yards wide, 
and as the water descends not more than about ten feet in run- 
ning three hundred yards, the place might be more appropri- 
ately termed a schute than a fall. The banks on either side 
are abrupt and picturesque ; the bed of the stream is of solid 
rock, and below the rapids are a number of inviting pools, 

• a 

where the water varies from forty to sixty feet in depth. The 
tides of the ocean reach no further up the Potomac than this 
spot, and though the rockfish are caught in considerable num- 
bers at the Great Falls, (which are ten miles farther up the 
river, and exceedingly romantic,) yet they seem to be partial to 
the Little Falls, where they are frequently found in very great 
numbers. They follow the shad and the herring in the spring, 
but afford an abundance of sport from the 1st of May until the 
4th of July, though they are caught in certain portions of the 
Potomac through the year, but never above the Great Falls. 
The rock of this portion of the Potomac vary in weight from 
two to eighteen or twenty pounds, and it is recorded of the 



^'-- ' 



'r 



864 ROCK FISHIN0. 

anglers and business fishermen, that they frequently kill no 
less than five hundred fish in a single day. The favorite bah 
in this region is the belly part of the common herring, as well 
as the shiner and minnow ; but it is frequently the case that s 
common yellow-flannel fly will commit sad havoc among the 
striped beauties. A stout rod, a large reel and a long line, are 
important requisites to the better enjoyment of rock-fishing at 
this point ; but as the good standing-places are few in number, 
many anglers resort to boat-fishing, which is here practised 
with pleasure and profit. Of the many scientific anglers who 
visit the Little Falls during the spring and summer, the more 
expert ones come from Washington ; and of one of these a story 
is related that he once killed no less than eighty handsome 
rockfish in a single afternoon. He occupied a dangerous posi- 
tion upon two pointed rocks in the river, (one foot upon each 
rock and elevated some five feet above the water,) and fished 
in a pool that was some seventy feet down the stream, while 
iiie fish were landed by an expert servant stationed on the 
«hore about thirty feet below the spot occupied by the angler. 
The gentleman alluded to is acknowledged to be the most suc- 
cessful angler in this region, and in an occasional conversation 
with hi«, we have obtained a goodly number of piscatorial 
anecdotes. One or two of them are as follows : — 

On ene occasion, while playing a good-sized rockfish, it un- 
fortunately rail around a sharp rock, and by cutting the line 
made its escape, carrying ofi* the angler's float, and a favorite 
fly. On the third day after this event a boy who was playing 
on the river about half a mile below the falls, happened to see 
a cork darting hither and thither across the surface of the wa^ 
ter, and immediately went in pursuit of the life-like piece of 
wood. After many twistings and turnings and a long row, he 
finally overtook it, and to his utter astonishment he landed in 
his boat a very handsome five pound bass. He recognized the 
fly as the one commonly employed by our angler, to whom the 
fly, the float, and the fish, were promptly delivered by the ho* 
nest boy. 

Another and a similar incident was as follows : — 



ROCK FISHING. 865 

Oar angling friend had lost another float, by the obstinacy 
of a fish. About a week after this mishap a fisherman who 
bad a '' trot line" set across the river at Georgetown, for the 
purpose of taking catfish, saw a great splashing in the water 
near the middle of his line, and on hastening to the spothe had 
the pleasure of pulling up a very handsome twelve pound bass. 
After faring sumptuously upon the fish, the fortunate individual 
took it into his head that the tackle belonged to the angler of 
the falls, whereupon he delivered it to our friend, accompanied 
with a statement of the manner in which he made the dis- 
covery. The distance travelled by that fish, with a hook in 
his mouth, was four miles, and it was by the merest accident 
that his leading-string had become entangled with the ^' trot 
•line." 

The angling-ground at the Little Falls is annually rented by 
the proprietors to a couple of men named Joe Paine and Jim 
Collins, who are the presiding geniuses of the place, and have 
been such for upwards of twenty years. They pay a rent of 
seventy dollars per annum, and as they recei^ve from fifty cents 
to five dollars from every angler who visits them, and as they 
are occasionally troubled with as many as thirty individuals 
per day, it may readily be imagined that their income is re- 
spectable. Some of Collins' friends allege that he has several 
thousand dollars stowed away in an old pocke -book, which it 
is his intention to bequeath to a favorite nephew, he himself 
being a bachelor. The reputation of Jim Collins in this section 
of country is very extensive, and that this should be the case 
is not at all strange, for he is a decided original. H& is about 
fifty years of age, measures six feet five inches in height, and 
the offshoots from the four prongs of his body number twenty* 
four instead of twenty, as in ordinary mortals ; I mean by this, 
that his fingers and toes number no less than twenty-four. 
Notwithstanding this bountiful supply of appendages, Jim Col- 
lins has a great antipathy to useful labor, and is as averse to 
walking as any web-footed animal. Fishing and sleeping are 
his two principal employments ; and that he is a judge of good 
whisky, none of his acquaintance would have the hardihood to 



866 ROCK FISHING. 

doubt. The taking of small fish he considers a business be- 
neath his dignity, and the consequence is that his tackle con- 
sists of a miniature bed-cord, with a hook and cedar pole to 
match, and his bait a whole herring. He commonly fishes in 
a boat, and the dexterity with which he '^ KawallupB'* the fish 
upon his lap is truly astonishing. But if you would see Jim 
Collins in his glory, wait until about the middle of a June 
afternoon, after he has pocketed some fifteen dollars, and he is 
sunning himself, with pipe in mouth, upon the rocks, absorbed 
m fishy contemplations. His appearance at such times is allied 
to that of a mammoth crane, watching (as he does his cockney 
brethren of the craft) the movements of a lot of half-fledged 
water birds. 

During the fishing season he is generally actively employed, 
but the remainder of his time he spends about the Little Falls, 
as if his presence were indispensable to the safe passage of the 
waters of the Potomac through this narrow gorge. That Jim 
Collins should have met with many queer mishaps, during a 
residence of twenty^ years on the Potomac, may be readily 
imagined ; but we believe the most unique adventure of which 
he has ever been the victim, happened on this wise. The sub- 
stance of the story is as follows : — 

Our hero is a great lover of "sturgeon meat," and for many 
years past it has been a habit with him to fish for that huge 
leather-mouthed monster, with a large cord and sharp grappling 
hooks, sinking them to the bottom with a heavy weight, and then 
dragging them across the bed of the stream ; his sense of touch 
being so exquisite, that he can always tell the instant that his 
hooks have struck the body of a sturgeon, and when this occurs, 
it is almost certain that the fish becomes a victim to the cruel 
art. In practising this mode of fishing, Jim Collins invariably 
occupies a boat alone, which he first anchors in the stream. On 
one occasion he had been fishing in this manner for a long time 
without success, and for the want of something more exciting, 
he had resorted more frequently than usual to his junk bottle. 
In process of time, however, he found the exercise of fishing 
decidedly a bore, but as he was determined not to give up the 



\ 



BOCK FISHING. 



86T 



sport, and at the same time was determined to enjoy a quiet 
nap, he tied the cord to his right arm, and lounged over on his 
back for the purpose of taking a snooze. There was an unusual 
calmness in the air and upon the neighboring hills, and even 
the few anglers who were throwing the fly at the Falls, did so 
in the laziest manner imaginable. While matters were in this 
condition, a sudden splash broke the surrounding stillness, 
which was immediately followed by a deafening shout, for it 
was discovered that a sturgeon had pulled poor Collins out of 
his boat into the swift stream, and he was in great danger of 
leading him off to the residence of David Jones. At one mo- 
ment the fisherman seemed to have the upper hand, for he 
pulled upon his rope, and swore loudly, sprawling about the 
water like a huge devil fish ; but in another instant the fellow 
would suddenly disappear, and an occasional bubble rising to 
the surface of the stream was all the evidence that he was not 
quite drowned. This contest lasted for some fifteen minutes, 
and had not the sturgeon finally made his escape, Jim Collins 
would have been no more. As it happened, however, he finally 
reached the shore, -about two hundred yards below the Falls, 
and as he sat upon a rock, quite as near the river Styx as he 
was to the Potomac, he lavished some heavy curses upon the 
escaped sturgeon, and insisted upon it, that the best hooks that 
man ever made were now for ever lost. Tears have elapsed 
since this occurrence took place, and when the ancient fisher- 
man '^ hath his will,'* he recounts the story of this catastrophe 
with as brilliant a fire in his eye as that which distinguished 
the countenance of Coleridge's particular friend, the '' Ancient 
Mariner." 

Before closing this essay, it is proper that we should allude 
^o the beautiful scenery that the angler will enjoy in going to 
to and returning from the Little Falls. The entire region, in 
fact, known by the name of Cooney, and comprehending some 
fifteen miles of the Potomac, is particularly picturesque, but is 
at the same time said to be the most barren and useless portion 
of Virginia. In visiting the falls you have to pass over a kind 
of wooded and rocky interval, and by an exceedingly rough 



368 



ROCK FISHIIYO. 



road, which is annnally submerged by the spring freshets. The 
water here sometimes rises to the height of fifty feet, and 
often makes a terrible display of its power ; on one occasion 
the water came down the valley with such impetuosity that 
a certain wall, composed of rocks six or eight feet square, 
and united together with iron, was removed to a distance of 
many rods from its original position. To the stranger who 
may visit the Little Falls, we would say, forget not on your 
return to Washington, the superb prospect which may be seen 
from the signal tree on the heights of Georgetown. From that 
point the eye comprehends at one glance, the church spires and 
elegant residences of Georgetown, the Metropolis of the land, 
with its capitol and numerous public buildings, and the mcMre 
remote city of Alexandria, with a reach of the magnificent 
Potomac, extending a distance of at least thirty miles. The 
best time to look upon this prospect, is at the sunset hour, when 
the only sounds that fill the air are the shrieking of swallows, 
and the faintly heard song of a lazy sailor far away upon the 
river, where perhaps a score of vessels are lying becalmed, 
while on the placid stream a retinue of crimson clouds are 
clearly and beautifully reflected. Scenes of more perfect love- 
liness are seldom found in any land ; and these we never wit- 
ness without being reminded of the great and good Daniel 
Webster, with whom we have spent many summer mornings 
at the Little Falls, and also of his distinguished and intimate 
friend, the Hon. John F. Crampton, in whose society it is our 
good fortune frequently to throw the fly or spin the bait in 
these latter days. 



PIKE FISHING. 



If BO be the aogler catch do fish, jet hnth he a wholeiome mtlk to the 
broolcside, and pleasant shade by the sweet silver streama. — Robekt 



The Pike is & common fish in all the temperate, and some 
of the northern regions of the world ; hut in no country doe» 
he arrive at greater perfection than in the United States. For 
some unaccountable reason he is generally known in this coun- 
try as the pickerel ; and we would therefore intimate to our 
readers that our present discourse is to be of the legitimate 
pike. In England, he is known under the several names of 
pike, jack, pickerel, and luce. His body is elongated, and 
nearly of a uniform depth from the head to the tail ; the head 
is also elongated and resembles that of the duck ; his mouth is 
Tery l^rge and abundantly supplied with sharp teeth, and his 
scales are small and particularly adhesive ; the color of his back 
is a dark brown, sides a mottled green or yellow, and belly a 
silvery white. The reputation of this fish for amiability is far 
from being enviable, for he is called not only the shark of the 
fresh waters, but also the tyrant of the liquid plain. He is a 
cunning and savage creature, and for these reasons even the 
moat .humane of fishermen are seldom troubled with conscien- 
tious scruples when they succeed in making him a captive. 
Pliny and Sir Francis Bacon both considered the pike to be the 
longest lived of any fresh water fish, and Gesner mentions a 
pike which he thought to be two hundred years old. Of these 
ancient fellows, Walton remarks, that they have more in them 
of state than goodness, the middle-sized individuals being con- 



870 PIKE FISHING. 

sidered the best eating. The prominent peculiarity of this fish 
is his voraciousness. Edward Jesse relates that five large pike 
once devoured about eight hundred gudgeons in the course of 
three weeks. He swallows every animal he can subdue, and is 
so much of a cannibal that he will devour his own kind full as 
soon as a common minnow. Young ducks and even kittens 
have been found in his stomach, and it is said that he often 
contends with the otter for his prey. Gessner relates that a 
pike once attacked a mule while it was drinking on the margin 
of a pond, and his teeth having become fastened in the snout 
of the astonished beast, he was safely landed on the shore. 
James Wilson once killed a pike weighing seven pounds, in 
whose stomach was found another pike weighing over a pound, 
and in the mouth of the youthful fish was yet discovered a 
respectable perch. Even men, while wading in a pond, have 
been attacked by this fresh-water wolf. He is so much of an 
exterminator, that when placed in a small lake with other fish, 
it is not long before he becomes "master of all he surveys," 
having depopulated his watery world of every species but his 
own. The following story, illjistrating the savage propensity of 
this fish, is related by J. V. C. Smith. A gentleman was an- 
gling for pike, and having captured one, subsequently met a 
shepherd and his dog, and presented the former with his prize. 
While engaged in clearing his tackle, the dog seated himself 
unsuspectingly in (he immediate vicinity of the pike, and as 
fate would have it, his tail was ferociously snapped at by the 
gasping fish. The dog was of course much terrified, ran in 
every direction to free himself, and at last plunged into the 
stream. The hair had become so entangled in the fish's teeth, 
however, that it could not release its hold. The dog again 
sought the land, and made for his master's cottage, where he 
was finally freed from his unwilling persecutor ; but notwith- 
standing the unnatural adventure of the fish, he actually sunk 
his teeth into the stick which was used to force open his jaws. 

The pike of this country does not diflFer essentially from the 
pike of Europe. His food usually consists of fish and frogs, 
though he is far from being particular in this matter. £b 



PIKE FISHING. 871 

loves a still, shady water, in river or pond, and usually lies in 
the vicinity of flags, bulrushes, and water-lilies, though he often 
shoots out into the clear stream, and on such occasions fre- 
quently affords the riflemen good sport. In summer he is 
taken at the top and the middle, but in winter at the bottom. 
His time for spawning is March, and he is in season about eight 
months in the year. In speaking of the size of this fish, the 
anglers of Europe have recorded some marvellous stories, of 
which we know nothing, and care less. In this country they 
vary from two to four feet in length, and in weight from two 
to forty pounds ; when weighing less than two pounds, he is 
called a jack. As an article of food he seems to be in good 
repute ; but since we once found a large water-snake in the 
stomach of a monster fish, we have never touched him when 
upon the table. He suits not our palate, but as an object of 
sport we esteem him highly, and can never mention his name 
without a thrill of pleasure. 

In this place we desire to record our opinion against the idea 
that the pike and muskalounge are one and the same fish. For 
many years ^e entertained the opinion that there was no dif- 
ference between them, only that the latter was merely an over- 
grown pike. We have more recently had many opportunities 
of comparing the two species together, and we know that to 
the careful and scientific observer, there is a marked difference. 
The head of a muskalounge is the smallest ; he is the stoutest 
fish, is more silvery in color, grows to a much larger size, and 
is with diflSculty tempted to heed the lures of the angler. They 
are so precisely siipilar in their general habits, however, that 
they must be considered as belonging to the pike family. They 
are possibly the independent, eccentric, and self-satisfied nabpbs 
of the race to which they belong ; always managing to keep the 
world ignorant of their true character, until after their days 
are numbered. 

We will now mention one or two additional traits, which we 
had nearly forgotten. The first is, that the pike is as distin- 
guished for his abstinence as for his voracity. During the 
summer months, his digestive organs seem to be somewhat tor- 



872 PIKE FISHING. 

pid, and this is the time he is out of season. During this pe- 
riod he is particularly listless in his movements, spending nearly 
all the sunny hours basking near the surface of the water ; and 
as this is the period when the smaller fry are usually commenc* 
ing their active existence, we cannot but distinguish in this ar- 
rangement of nature the wisdom of Providence. Another habit 
peculiar to this fish is as follows : — During the autumn, he 
spends the day-time in deep water, and tlie night in the shallow- 
est water he can find along the shores of river or lake. We have 
frequently seen them so very near the dry land as to display 
their fins. What their object can be in thus spending the dark 
hours, it is hard to determine : is it to enjoy the warmer tem- 
perature of the shallow water, or for the purpose of watching 
and capturing any small land animals that may come to the 
water to satisfy their thirst ? We have heard it alleged that 
they seek the shore for the purpose of spawning, but it is an 
established fact that they cast their spawn in the spring ; and, 
besides, the months during which they seek the shore as above 
stated, are the very ones in which they are in the best condi- 
tion, and afibrd the angler the finest sport. Autumn is the 
time, too, when they are more frequently and more easily 
taken with the spear, than during any other season. And as 
to this spearing business, generally speaking, we consider it an 
abominable practice ; but in the case of the savage and ob- 
stinate pike, it ought to be countenanced even by the legitimate 
angler. 

We have angled for pike in nearly all tjie waters of this 
country where they abound. The immense quantity of book 
lore that we have read respecting the character of pike tackle, 
has always seemed to us an intelligent species of nonsense — a 
kind of literature originally invented by tackle manufacturers, 
or up-start cockney foreigners, who follow book-making as a 
trade. Our own equipment for pike fishing we consider first- 
rate, and yet it consists only of a heavy rod and reel, a stout 
linen line, a brass leader, a sharp Kirby hook, and a landing- 
net. For bait we prefer a live minnow, though a small shiner, 
or the belly of a yellow perch, is nearly as sure to attract no- 




PIKE FISHIN0. 



878 



tice. We have taken a pike with a gaudy fly, and also with an 
artificial minnow, but you cannot depend upon these allure- 
ments. Sinkers we seldom use, and the fashionable thing called 
a float we utterly abominate. We have fished for pike in almost 
every manner, but our favorite method has ever been from an 
anchored boat, when our only companion was a personal friend, 
and a lover of the written and unwritten poetry of nature. 
This is the most quiet and contemplative method, and unques- 
tionably one of the most successful ones ; for though the pike 
is not easily frightened, it takes but a single splash of an oar 
when trolling, to set him a-thinking, which is quite as unfortu- 
nate for the angler's success as if he were actually alarmed. 
Another advantage is, that while swinging to an anchor you 
may fish at the bottom, if you please, or try the stationary 
trolling fashion. To make our meaning understood, we would 
add, that an expert angler can throw his hook in any direction 
from his boat, to the distance of at least a hundred feet, and 
in pulling it in, he secures all the advantages that result from 
the common mode of trolling. The pike is a fish which calls 
forth a deal of patience, and must be humored ; for he will 
sometimes scorn the handsomest bait, apparently out of mere 
spite ; but the surest time to take him is when there is a cloudy 
sky and a southerly breeze. Live fish are the best bait, as we 
have before remarked, though the leg of a frog is good, and in 
winter a piece of pork, but nothing can be better than a shiner 
or a little perch ; and it might here be remarked, that as the 
pike is an epicure in the manner of his eating, it is invariably a 
good plan to let him have his own time, after he has seized the 
bait. As to torchlight fishing for pike, though unquestionably 
out of the pale of the regular angler's sporting, it is attended 
with much that we must deem poetical and interesting. Who 
can doubt this proposition when we consider the picturesque 
effect of a boat and lighted torch, gliding along the wild shores 
of a lake, on a still, dark night, with one figure noiselessly ply- 
ing an oar, and the animated attitude of another relieved 
against the fire-light, and looking into the water like Orpheus 
into hell ? And remember, toO| the thousand inhabitants of 



1 

i 




874 PIKE FISHINa. 

the liquid element that we see, and almost fai 
vitli human eympatbies. What a pleaaure to 
finny tribes amid their own choaea bauntB, 
Hunt has exquisitely written, 

" A cold, sweet, silver life, wmpped in roui 
. Quickened'witli touches of transporting I 

In some of the Northern States, fishing for 
through the ice, is practised to a great exten 
commonly attached to a fignre four, by whicl 
informed that be has a bite, and if be has ma 
the fish are in a humor to be captured, this i 
really very exciting. Especially so, if the ii 
the fisherman can attend to his hooks, with 
skates attached to his feet. 

Another mode for catching pike in the win 
have seen practised in the lakes and rivers o 
follows. You cut a large hole itf the ice, ore 
a tent or small portable house ; and after taki 
yon let down a bait for the purpose of alluiir 
they follow the hook, even to your feet, y( 
with a sharp spear. In the St. Lawrence th 
through the ice, but there the bait and hook a 
the spear being exclusively used for torch-ligl 

But it is time that we should change the ton< 
and mention the favorite waters of the Ame 
largest we have ever seen were taken in the i 
and on the St. Joseph and Raisin rivers of 
they are very abundant. They are also founij 
streams emptying into Lakes Michigan, Erie 
also, in the Ohio and its tributaries. We ha 
in the upper St. Lawrence, and know them t 
Champlain, and in a large proportion of the It 
New England. A very pretty lady once tolc 
seen a pike taken from Lake Champlain, whit 
the aofa upon which we were seated together, 
the gentle art of fishing, and the tender on 



/ 



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f • • •. » ; 



I 



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> < > • 



i I ill •! 



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ill 



^ 



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If 



n 




PIKE FISHING. * 875 

fishing with the hook we have not practised to a very great ex- 
tent. Our angling experience has been chiefly confined to the 
smaller lakes of Connecticut, particularly those in the vicinity 
of Norwich. Our favorit^ resort has been Gardner's Lake, 
whose shores are surrounded with pleasant wood-crowned hills, 
teeming with partridge and woodcock, and the Sabbath still- 
ness which usually reigns about it is seldom broken, save by 
the dipping oar, or the laugh of the light-hearted fisherman. 
Dearly indeed do we cherish the memory of the pleasant days 
spent upon this picturesque lake ; and we hope it may never be 
used for any other purpose than to mirror the glories of heaven, 
and never be visited by any but genuine sportsmen and true- 
hearted lovers of Nature. Preston Lake is another beautiful 
sheet of water near Norwich, which reminds us of a night ad- 
venture. A couple of us had visited it for the purpose of taking 
pike by torch-light, having brought our spears and dry-pine all 
the way from Norwich in a one-horse wagon. It was a cold 
but still autumnal night, and as we tied our horse to a tree in 
an open field, we had every reason to anticipate a " glorious 
time." So far as the fish were concerned, we enjoyed fine 
sport, for we caught about a dozen pike, varying from one to 
four pounds in weight ; but the miseries we subsequently en- 
dured were positively intolerable. We had much diflSculty in 
making our boat seaworthy, and, in our impatience to reach 
the fishing-grounds, we misplaced our brandy bottle in the tall 
grass, and were therefore deprived of its warming companion- 
ship. About midnight, a heavy fog began to rise, which not 
only prevented us from distinguishing a pike from a log of 
wood, but caused us to become frequently entangled in the top 
of a dry tree, lying on the water. Our next step, therefore, 
was to go home, but then came the trouble of finding our ^^ de- 
sired haven." This we did happen to find, for a wonder, and 
having gathered up our plunder, started on our course over the 
frosty grass after our vehicle and horse. We found them, but 
it was in a most melancholy plight indeed. Like a couple of 
large fools, we had omitted to release the horse from the wagon, 
as we should have done, and the consequence was that he had 



876 • PIKE PISHING. 

released himself, by breaking the fills and tearing off the har- 
ness, and we discovered him quietly feeding a few paces from 
the tree to which we had fastened him. What next to do we 
could not in our utter despair possibly determine ; but after a 
long consultation, we both concluded to mount the miserable 
horse, and with our fish in hand actually started upon our 
miserable journey home. Our fish were so heavy, that we were 
compelled at the end of the first mile to throw them away, 
and as the day was breaking, we entered the silent streets of 
Norwich, pondering upon the pleasures of pike fishing by 
torch-light, and solemnly counting the cost of our nocturnal 
expedition. 

But the most successful pike fishing we ever enjoyed was at 
Crow Wing, on the upper Mississippi. We were spending a 
few days with an isolated Indian trader of the wilderness, round 
whose cabin were encamped about three hundred Chippewa 
Indians. Seldom was it that we allowed a night to pass away 
without trying our luck with the spear, and as a dozen canoes 
were often engaged in the same sport, the bosom of the river 
presented a most romantic and beautiful appearance. Each 
canoe usually contained two or three individuals, and our torches, 
which were made of dried birch bark, threw such a flood of light 
upon the translucent water, that we could see every object in 
the bed of the river with the utmost distinctness. Beautiful 
indeed were those fishing scenes, and when the canoes had 
floated down the river for a mile or two, the homeward-bound 
races that followed between the shouting Indians, were exciting 
in the extreme. And what added to our enjoyment of this 
sporting, was the idea that to grasp the hand of a white man, 
(besides that of our host,) we should have to travel one hun- 
dred miles through a pathless wilderness. We seldom took 
any note of time, and sometimes were throwing the spear even 
when the day was breaking. The largest fish that we saw taken 
at Crow Wing weighed upwards of forty pounds, and we have 
known five spearmen to take seventy pike and muskalounge in 
a single night. 

But we must curtail our pike stories, for we purpose to apr 



PIKE FISHING. • 377 

pend to our remarks a few interesting observations upon that 
and a kindred fish, which have been kindly furnished to us by 
a genuine angler, and valued friend^ John R. Bartlett, Esq. 

The pike bears the same relation to the finny tribes that the 
hyena and jackal do to animals, the vulture to birds, or the 
spider to insects— -one of the most voracious of fishes. He 
feeds alike on the living or dead ; and even those of his on^ 
brethren which are protected by nature against the attacks of 
other fish, find no protection against him. It is remarkable in 
the economy of animals, that while nature provides her weaker 
and smaller creatures with the means of defence against the 
stronger ones, she has, at the same time, furnished some of the 
latter with weapons, apparently for the very purpose of over- 
coming the feeble, however well they may be guarded. Thus, 
the pike, with its immense jaws, armed with innumerable teeth, 
is able to seize and crush every kind of fish. Its own kind do 
not escape, for instances are frequent when a pike of three or 
four pounds is found in the stomach of one of twelve or fifteen 
pounds weight. 

It is interesting to notice the habits of the pike, which an 
angler may easily do in still, clear water. They have been 
characterized as a solitary, melancholy, and bold fish. Never 
are they found in schools, or even in pairs, as most other fish 
are, nor are they often seen in open water, where other fish 
would discover them, and avoid their grasp. When in open 
water, they lie very near the bottom, quite motionless, appear- 
ing like a sunken stick. Their usual and favorite place of re- 
sort is among the tall weeds, where they cannot be seen. Here 
they lie, as it were, in ambush, waiting the approach of some 
innocent, unsuspecting fish, when they dart forth with a swift- 
ness which none of the finny tribe can attain, seize their harm- 
less victim, and slowly bear it away to some secluded spot. 
Here they crush their prey with their immense jaws, and lei- 
surely force it into their capacious stomachs. Often, when 
angling for the pike with a live perch, from a wharf so far 
raised above the water that we could see every object for 
twenty feet on either side, a pike has so suddenly darted from 

VOL. n.— z 



878 PiEB PiSHiKa. 

a cluster of weeds, beyond the range of our vision, that the 
first intimation we had of his presence was, that he had seized 
our bait. 

On one occasion, when angling in the St. Lawrence, where 
pike are very abundant, we put a minnow on our hook, and 
threw our line towards a mass olT weeds, in the hope of tempt- 
ing a perch to take it. Not many minutes had elapsed before 
our silvery minnow had tempted the appetite of one, which soon 
conveyed him to his maw. Knowing that our game was sure, 
we let him play about, first allowing him to run to the extent 
of our line, and then drawing him towards us, when, on a sud* 
den, a pike shot from his hiding-place and seized the peroh. 
We were obliged to let the fellow have his own way, and give 
him all the time he wanted to swallow the perch, when, witii 
a good deal of difficulty, we succeeded in disabling him, and to 
tow him in triumph to the shore. The perch weighed a pound 
and a half ; the pike ten pounds. 

The long and slender form of the pike, tapering towards the 
head and tail, enables him to move with great rapidity through 
the water, while his smooth and finless back facilitates his move- 
ments through the weeds or marine plants. Thus has nature 
provided this fish with a form adapted to its habits, and with 
large and well-armed jaws, to give it a pre-eminence among the 
finny tribes which inhabit the same waters. We have often 
thought why so great an enemy, so great a devourer of his race, 
should be placed among them, favored by so many advantages. 
May it not, nay, must it not be for some wise purpose ? It is 
known how very prolific fishes are, and unless some way was 
provided to lessen the number, our inland waters could not con- 
tain the vast numbers which a few years would produce. Most 
fish live on each other, others on decomposing substances float- 
ing about. It is not always the largest that prey on each other, 
for the sturgeon is one of the largest fresh-water fish, and he 
subsists on decomposing matter or minute fish. A few pike 
placed in a lake, would very efiectually prevent an over-popu- 
lation. May it not, then, be so ordered, that the inhabitants 
of the seas, which are not so favored as those who dwell on the 



PIKE PISHING. 379 

earth's surface, and who have a great variety of food to supply 
their wants, may have the means of providing their own suste- 
nance by an immense increase of their own species ? 

Blaine observes that ^' the abstinence of the pike and jack is 
no less singular than their voracity ; during the summer months 
their digestive faculties are somewhat torpid, which appears a 
remarkable peculiarity in pike economy, seeing it must be in 
inverse ratio to the wants of the fish, for they must be at this 
time in a state of emaciation from the effects of spawning. 
Baring the summer they are listless, and affect the surface of 
the water, where in warm sunny weather they seem to bask in 
a sleepy state for hours together. It is not a little remarkable, 
that smaller fish appear to be aware when this abstinent state 
of their foe is upon him ; for they who at other times are evi- 
dently impressed with an instinctive dread of his presence, are 
now swimming around him with total unconcern. At these 
periods, no baits, however tempting, can allure him ; but on 
the contrary, he retreats from everything of the kind. Windy 
weather is alone capable of exciting his dormant powers. This 
inaptitude to receive food with the usual keenness, continues 
from the time they spawn, until the time of their recovery from 
the effects of it." 

The peculiarity above noticed does not entirely apply to the 
pike of the Northern States, and particularly of the great lakes 
and rivers whose waters are not so sensibly affected by the heat 
of summer as shallow water is. In the smaller streams he lies 
in the listless state described by Mr. Blaine, but when he can 
reach the deep water he always does so. 

Pike are found in all the lakes and inland waters of the 
Northern and Middle States of the Union. In the great lakes 
they grow to an enormous size. No fish is better known 
throughout Europe and the northern parts of Asia. In colder 
climes he attains the largest size, and is said by Walkenburg 
to disappear in geographical distribution with the fir. In our 
waters they are taken of all sizes, from four or five pounds to 
fifty or sixty. Their haunts are generally among the weeds or 
marine plants near the shore, or in deep bays where the water 



380 PIKE PISHING. 

is not made rough by winds, and in all parts of rivers- They 
are rarely found on rocky bottoms or bars. A high wind and 
rough sea often drives them from their weedy haunts into 
deeper water. From wharves where bass are only taken on 
ordinary occasions, pike will bite with avidity when a severe 
gale is blowing, and the water is in a disturbed state. 

. This fish, according to Donovan, attains a larger size in a 
shorter time, in proportion to most others. In the course of 
the first year it grows eight or ten inches ; the second, twelve 
or fourteen ; the third, eighteen or twenty inches. Some pike 
were turned into a pond in England, the largest of which 
weighed two and a half pounds. Four years after, the water 
was let off, when one pike of nineteen pounds, and others of 
from eleven to fifteen, were found. Mr. Jesse, in his Glean- 
ings of Natural History, relates certain experiments by which 
he shows that the growth of pike is about four pounds a year, 
which corresponds with the growth of those before stated. 

The various books on sporting give numerous instances of 
pike weighing from thirty to forty pounds, taken in England, 
though an instance is mentioned in Dodsley's Register for 1765, 
of an enormous pike weighing one hundred and seventy pounds, 
which was taken from a pool near Newport, England, which 
had not been fished in for ages. In Ireland and Scotland, they 
are found larger than in England. In the Shannon and Lough 
Corrib, they have been found from seventy to ninety-two pounds 
weight. At Broadford, near Limerick, one was taken weigh- 
ing ninety-six pounds. Another was caught by trolling in Loch 
Pentluliche, of fifty pounds ; and another in Loch Spey, that 
weighed one hundred and forty-six pounds. But these are 
small in comparison with a pike, which is stated by Gesner 
(and from him quoted by most writers on fish) to have been 
taken in a pool near the capital of Sweden, in the year 1497, 
which was fifteen feet in length, and weighed three hundred 
and fifty pounds. Under the skin of this enormous fish was 
discovered a ring of Cyprus brass, having a Greek inscription 
round the rim, which was interpreted by Dalburgus, Bishop of 
Worms, to signify : << I am the fish first of all placed in this 




PIKE FISHINa. 881 

pondy by the hands of Frederic the Second, on the 5th of Octo- 
ber, in the year of grace 1230 ;" which would make its age 
two hundred and sixty-seven years. The ring about his neck 
was made with springs, so as to enlarge as the fish grew. His 
skeleton was for a long time preserved at Manheim. 

During the past summer which we spent on the banks of the 
St. Lawrence, we had frequently tried the spool-trolling, and 
always with success. Sometimes we would use two lines, one 
seventy the other one hundred and twenty feet in length. On 
the longer one we had the best success, and our bait would be 
seized three times, when on the shorter one it would be but 
once ; it being farther from the boat, the movements of which 
through the water, and the noise of the oars, drove the fish off. 
From experience we are satisfied that long troUing-lines are 
the best. Bass will seize a fly or spoon at a few feet distance, 
but a pike will not. We have tried the experiment, when 
trolling for pike, to attach to one hook a bait of pork and red 
flannel, a very common bait, and to the other a brass spoon. 
The latter was invariably seized first, for the reason, that it 
made more show in the water. Neither resembled a fish, fly, 
or any living creature, but curiosity or hunger attracted the 
fish to the strange bait gliding through the water, which they 
seized, paying with their lives the penalty for so doing. 

There is a large fish of the pike species commonly called the 
muskalounge or maskalunge before spoken of, of what specific 
character is not well understood by naturalists. Their habits 
and their haunts are the same as those of the pike, and they 
attain 9 larger size than any fish of our inland waters. We 
have seen them carried by two men of ordinary height, with a 
pole running through the gills and supported on the shoulders 
of the men. In this position the tail of the fish dragged on 
the grouMd. Forty or fifty pounds is not an unusual weight 
for them, and instances are known when much larger ones have 
been caught. Muskalounge are generally taken in seines, sel- 
dom with the hook. Their size is so large that the ordinary 
baits of anglers would be no temptation to them. In the seve- 
ral opportunities which we have had to examine the stomachs 



f 



..I 
•1 






til 



"m 



i 



882 PIKB FISHING. 

of the fish, we have invariably found within them fish of very 
large size, such as no angler would ever think of putting on 
his line. The largest perch we ever saw, about fifteen inches 
in length, was taken from the paunch of a muskalounge, and we 
have often seen catfish, perch, and other fish weighing from 
one to two pounds, taken from them ; but in no instance small 
fish ; and hence anglers have not taken them, as few would 
angle with live bait of that, size, where there are no fish but 
these which would take it. 

The most exciting sport we ever had on the St. Lawrence, 
was capturing a muskalounge. It was a regular battle, such 
only as salmon anglers enjoy when they hook a twenty-pounder. 
As the method was very different, we will state the particulars. 

A friend and ourself took a small skiff, with one trolling line, 
intending to take turns at the oars, and proceeded at once to a 
favorite spot among the '^Thousand Islands." 

We held the trolling line with a spoon hook attached, while 
our companions pulled the oars. We sailed among the secluded 
places, wherever weeds were seen below the surface of the 
water, and were rewarded with good sport by taking several 
fine pike, weighing from six to fifteen pounds, which we ma- 
naged to secure with ease, save the largest, which gave us some 
trouble. We then thought we would try deeper water, in the 
hope of tempting larger fish. A few windings among the clus- 
ters of small islands brought us to the channel of the river, 
when we directed our companion to increase the speed of the 
skiff, determined that the curiosity of no fish should be satisfied, 
without first tasting our gilded spoon. We pulled fi9r half a 
mile, when the river wound suddenly round an island, which 
presented a bold shore, from the rushing of the river's current. 
The tall forest-trees extended to the very brink of the river, 
over which they hung, throwing a deep shadow on ihe water. 
This quiet spot looked as though it might be an attractive one 
for some solitary fish, and we accordingly took a sweep around 
the foot of the island. Scarcely had we entered the deep shade 
spoken of, when we felt a tug at our line, which was so strong 
that we supposed our hook had come in contact with a floating 



PIKB FISHINa. 883 

log or fallen tree. Oar companion backed water with his oars 
to relieve our hook, when another violent pull at our line con- 
vinced us that it was no log, but some living creature of great 
weight. Our line was already out its full length of one hun- 
dred and fifty feet; no alternative was therefore left but to give 
my fish more line by rowing after him. 

This we did for a few minutes, when we began to pull in the 
slack of our line, some fifty feet or more, when we felt the fish. 
The check was no sooner felt by him than he started forward 
with a velocity scarcely conceivable in the water, bringing the 
line taut, and the next moment our skifi" was moving off stem 
foremost towards the river's channel* We soon perceived that 
our fish had turned his head up stream, and as the water was 
deep, there was no danger of his coming in contact with weeds 
or protruding rocks. We therefore allowed him to tow us for 
about five minutes, when he stopped. Then quickly backing 
water with our oars, and taking in our line, we carefuUy^aid 
it over the skiff's side, until we had approached within twenty 
feet of our fish. We then gave him another check, which pro- 
bably turned his head, for he again darted off in a contrary 
direction down stream. We pulled our skiff in the same direc- 
tion as fast as possible to give the fish a good run before check- 
ing him again, but he soon had the line out its full length, and 
was again towing our skiff after him with more rapidity than 
before. T^is did not last long, however, for we then took the 
line and hauled towards him to lessen our distance. He made 
another slap, when we managed to keep the line taut, and with 
our oars moved towards him. Our victim now lay on the sur- 
face of the water with his belly upward, apparently exhausted, 
when we found him to be a muskalounge, between five and eight 
feet in length. We had no sooner got him alongside than he 
gave a slap with his tail and again darted off the whole length 
of the line, taking us once more in tow. His run was now 
short, and it was evident he was getting tired of the business. 
Again thfe line slacked, and we drew the skiff up to the spot 
where he lay turned upon his back. 

He now seemed so far gone that we thought we might draw 



384 PIKE FISHIKG. 

him into our skiff, so we reached out our gaff and hooked him 
under the jaw, while my companion passed his oar under him. 
In this way we contrived to raise him over the gunwale of the 
skiff, when he slid to its bottom. We then placed our foot at 
the back of his head to hold him down, in order to disengage 
our hook, which passed through his upper jaw. No sooner had 
we attempted this than he began to flap about, compelling us 
to give him room to avoid his immense jaws. Every moment 
seemed to increase his strength, when our companion seized 
an oar in order to dispatch him, while we took out our knife for 
the same purpose. The* first blow with the oar had only the 
effect to awaken our fish, which, taking another and more pow- 
erful somerset, threw himself over the gunwale of our skifi^ 
which was but a few inches above the water, and with a plunge 
disappeared in the deep water at our side. We had scarcely 
recovered from our surprise, when we found the line drawn out 
agafn to its full length, save a few tangles and twists, which had 
got into it in the struggle between us and our fish. We deter- 
mined to trifle no longer with the fellow, with our small skiff, 
but to make for the shore and there land him. A small island 
a. short distance from us, seemed to present a convenient place, 
and here, without further ceremony, we pulled, towing our fish 
after us. We leaped into the water about ten feet from the 
shore, and tugged away at my victim, who floated like a log 
upon the water, while my companion stood by with an oar to 
make the capture more sure this time. In this way we landed 
him in safety just one hour and a quarter after he was first 
hooked. This muskalounge weighed forty-nine pounds, and had 
within him a pike of three pounds weight, a chub, partially de- 
composed, of four pounds, and a perch of one and a half pounds, 
which appeared to have been but recently swallowed ; yet this 
fish's appetite was not satisfied, and he lost his life in grasping 
at a glittering bauble. Any person who has ever killed a pike 
of ten pounds or upwards, can readily imagine the strength of 
one five times that weight. 

The great strength of these fish was shown in a sporting ad- 
venture which happened to a friend of mine when out a few 



PIKE FISHIKa. 



385 



eyenings since, spearing by torchlight. The person alluded to 
, had never before tried his hand with the spear, although he was 
a skillful angler. On this occasion he had killed several fish, 
which he secured without trouble. He was then in about six 
or eight feet of water, when he discovered a large fish, either a 
very large pike or muskalounge. He planted himself with one 
foot below the flaming torch, the other a little behind, when he 
plunged his spear into the huge fish that lay so quietly before 
iiim ; but whether he was so deceived in the depth of the water, 
or whether he had not braced himself properly in the boat, is 
not known, at any rate he struck the fish, which darted ofi* like 
lightBing, Lking the spear with him, as U as him who threw 
it. For the gentleman, probably deceived by the depth of the 
water, had reached forward too far and thereby lost his balance. 
So over he went head foremost, holding on to the spear. But 
he was satisfied without following the fish further, which escaped 
with the long spear, neither of which could be again seen. The 
gentleman made the best of his way into the skiff. Two days 
after a large muskalounge fioated ashore several miles below the 
spot where the event took place, with the spear still clinging to 
him, just before the dorsal fin. 

Sut the scenic attractions of the Thousand Islands, are quite 
equal to its attractions piscatorial. That portion of the St. 
Lawrence so named, extends from Lake Ontario about forty 
miles down the river ; and while the upper part is eleven miles 
wide, it gradually narrows as you descend, and is said to con« 
tain sixteen hundred islands. They are of every form and 
size, and while the larger ones are covered with well tilled 
farms, the great majority are composed of a few rocks, a little 
earth, and a pleasing variety of northern trees. On one of 
them are the picturesque ruins of an old fort, by the side of 
another are a couple of sunken men-of-war hulls, while upon 
others may occasionally be seen, mournful Indian graves. 
Muskalounge, pike, and black bass, are the principal game fish 
taken here, and to angle among these islands, when autumn is 
in its prime, seems more like enchantment than reality. The 
waters vary in depth from five to eighty feet, flow at the 



886 PIKE FISHING. 

rate of three miles an hour, and though generally ice-bound 
during the long winters of this latitude, there is one spot, be- . 
tween two islands near the north shoro, which is never frozen 
on account of a warm spring which bubbles from the bottom of 
the stream ; and what is more, local Indian legends may be 
picked up among these charming islands, and rare characters, 
in the way of habitan fishermen and hunters, be stumbled upon, 
which will make the remembrance of the place perenniaL 



FISHING IN GENERAL. 



i 
I 



We bave, indeed, often thought that angling alone offers to man the 
d^;ree of half-busineBS, half-idleness which the fair sex find in their nee- 
dle-work or knitting, which employing the hands, leaves the mind at 
liberty, ^d occupying the attention, so far as is necessary to remove the 
painful sense of a vacuity, yet yields room for contemplation, whether upon 
things heavenly or earthly, cheerful or melancholy. — Sir Walter Scott. 

In the precediog articles we have given the public the sub- 
BtB/qce of our experience in regard to our five favorite fish, the 
salmin, trout, pike, rock, and black bass. On the present oc- 
casion we purpose to embody within the limits of a single arti- 
cle, our stock of information upon the remaining fish of the 
United States, which properly come under the jurisdiction of the 
angler. We shall proceed in our remarks after the manner of 
the dictionary-makers, and shall take up each variety without 
any regard to their order, but as they may happen to come into 
our mind. 

The Perch. — ^With two members of this family alone are we 
personally acquainted, viz. the yellow perch and the white perch. 
The first is a beautiful fish, and found in nearly all the waters 
of the Norttern and Middle States, and probably as well known 
throughout the world as any of the finny tribes. Its predomi- 
nating color is yellow ; it has an elegant form, is a bold biter, 
varies in weight from four ounces to a pound, (although occa- 
sionally found in New England weighing two pounds ;) has a 
dry and sweet flesh, but ill adapted to satisfy the cravings of 
a hungry man on account of its bones, which are particularly 
numerous, hard and pointed. They generally swim about in 



388 FISHINa IN GENERAL. 

schoolsy and yet at the same time are not at all distinguished 
for their intelligence, being invariably allured to destruction by 
the most bungling anglers, and the more common kinds of bait. 
They spawn in the spring, and recover, so as to be in fine con- 
dition, early in the autumn. They delight in clear rivers or 
lakes, with pebbly bottoms, though sometimes found on sandy 
or clayey soils. They love a moderately deep water, and fre- 
quent holes at the mouths of small streams, or the hollows 
under the banks. With regard to the white perch we have 
only to say that it is well described by its name, is a migratory 
fish, found in nearly all the rivers of the Atlantic coast, from 
Boston to Norfolk; but particularly abundant in the Delaware, 
Susquehanna and Potomac ; and they weigh from six ounces to 
one pound, are in season during the spring and summer, are 
capital as an article of food, and afibrd the entire brotherhood 
of anglers an abundance of sport. As touching the name of 
the fish now before us, we desire to chronicle our opinion re- 
specting an important instance in which it has been misapplied. 
Many years ago, while reading the remarkable and int^sely 
interesting work of Audubon on the birds of America, we 
chanced upon the description of a fish, found in the Ohio, to 
which he gave the name of white perch. Subsequently to that 
period, while sojourning in the city of Cincinnati, we happened 
to remember Mr. Audubon's description, »nd one morning 
visited the market for the purpose of examining the fish. We 
found them very abundant, and were informed that they com- 
manded a high price. On examining the fish, however, in view 
of certain doubts that we had previously entertained (for we 
knew that the white perch of the books was a native of salt 
water,) we found it to be not a legitimate white perch, but sim- 
ply the fish known in Lake Erie as the fresh water sheepshead, 
and in New York as the growler. But this misapplication of 
the term perch is not peculiar to the residents on the Ohio, for 
we know that, throughout the Southern States where the black 
bass is found, it is universally called the black perch or trout ; 
and that in the vicinity of Boston and Nahant the miserable 
little fish called the Conner is there designated as a black perch. 



FIBHINa IN GENERAL. 889 

That there are several varieties of the real perch besides those 
mentioned, we do not deny, but we feel confident that the above 
correction cannot be refuted. 

The Muskalounge and Pickerel. — ^Both of these fish are pecu- 
liar to the United States, and especially to the Great Lakes, 
and the waters of the St. Lawrence and Mississippi. The for- 
mer belongs unquestionably to the pike family, although com- 
monly weighing from twenty to forty pounds, while many peo- 
ple affirm that it is only an overgrown pike. They are valued 
as an article of food, and, by those who are fond of killing the 
most savage of game at the expense of much labor, they are 
highly appreciated. The best and about the only valuable ac- 
count of this fiush that we have ever seen, was writte.n ty George 
W. Clinton, Esq., and j)ublished in the Buffalo Commercial 
Advertiser. As to the fish which we call the pickerel, we have 
to say that it occupies a position somewhere between the trout 
and perch ; that it is a favorite with the anglers of Lake Cham- 
plain, Lake Erie, and Lake Michigan, and with those also who 
practise the gentle art along the borders of the Ohio and the 
Tennessee. It is an active fish, of a roundish form, with large 
mouth and sharp teeth, and covered with small scales, the pre- 
dominating colors being a dark green and yellowish white. The 
•name which it bears is the one so generally applied, but erro- 
neously, to the legitimate pike. It is also the same fish known 
in the South-west as the salmon, but as unlike the peerless crea- 
ture of the far North as a grey wolf is unlike a deer. As is 
the case with the muskalounge, the pickerel is among the first of 
the finny tribes that run up our Western rivers early in the 
spring ; and in the waters of Lake Champlain and the St. Law- 
rence they are found herding with the yellow perch, and we be- 
lieve that in some districts they are considered as belonging to 
the perch family. 

The Catfish. — This fish is distinguished for its many defor- 
mities, and is a great favorite with all persons who have a fancy 
for muddy waters. In the Mississippi they are frequently 
taken weighing upwards of one hundred pounds ; and while 
they are taken ifl all the tributaries of that river, it has been 



390 FISHINGS IN GBNEBAL. 

ascertained that they decrease in size as you ascend towards 
the north. They are also found in the tributaries of Lake 
Erie. They are taken with any kind of bait ; and as they are 
very strong, the best of tackle is invariably necessary. This 
fish is also found in many of the lakes of New England, whero 
they seldom weigh more than two pounds, being there known 
as the horn or bull pout, owing to a peculiar pectoral thorn 
with which they are adorned. Their flesh, though not particu- 
larly sweet, is said to be easily digested, and they are often 
sought for by people with weak stomachs. But it has always 
seemed to us that it required a very powerful stomach to eat a 
piece from one of the mammoths of the Western waters. 

As to tke remaining fresh-water fish of the country, we will 
content ourself by merely mentioning the names of those which 
are known to our anglers, to wit : the chub, dace, white bass, 
sunfish, roach, bream, and rock bass. The fish called in Vir- 
ginia and Maryland the fall fish, is identical with the dace. In 
the waters of the West the mullet, fresh water sheepshead, and 
sucker, are found in immense numbers, but they are all exceed- 
ingly poor eating, and as sporting fish are of no account. The 
sturgeon, we believe, is found almost everywhere, and known to 
almost everybody. 

There is a fish found in Florida which belongs to the bass, 
family, abounds in all the rivers, lakes, and springs of this 
State, is a bold biter, reaches the weight of fifteen pounds, has 
a white and sweet flesh, and is taken in very much the manner 
employed by northern anglers in capturing the pike, and with 
similar artificial baits. This fish is called a trout, but is in 
realit^ a variety of the black bass. The fish known as the 
gar-pike is universal in this country and though not eaten, is 
frequently captured for the mere sport. Its natural history is 
peculiar and of great interest to naturalists. At the present 
time it is found exclusively in North America, and yet the 
fossils of the old world prove that it was once cosmopolite in 
its geographical distribution. It is supposed to be a link con- 
necting the fish with the reptile, since it is the only fish known 
which has the power of moving its head on the neck freely, in 
all directions. 



FISHING IN GENEBAL. 891 

We now come to our favorites of the ocean and tide-water 
rivers; and the first fish that we mention is the black fish^ or 
tautogy as it was called by the Mohegan Indians. It is a sta- 
tionary inhabitant of the salt water, and osaally found upon 
reefs and along rocky shores. It is taken all along the Atlantic 
coast' between New York and Boston, but it has been known 
north of Cape God only within a few years ; its legitimate home 
is Long Island Sound. It is an active, bold, strong, and tough 
fish, highly esteemed as an article of food, and, like the cod, is 
brought to the principal markets in floating cars, in which con- 
finement they are said to fatten. They are by no means a 
handsome fish, and their scales are so adhesive as to be taken 
off only with the skin. They are a summer fish, being taken 
as early as April, and no later than October. A three-pounder 
is considered a good fish, but we have often taken tl^m weigh- 
ing ten pounds, and have seen them weighing fifteen pounds. 
They are generally taken with the hand line, and no better bait 
can be employed than the lobster or soft crab. 

The Sheepshead. — This is a thickset but rather handsome 
fish, and, for the sweetness of its flesh, highly esteemed. They 
are seldom seen in the New York market, but very common in 
the Charleston and Mobile markets, from which we infer that 
they are partial to southern waters. They vary in weight from 
three pounds to fourteen ; live exclusively npon shellfish, and 
invariably command a high price. They are popular with the 
anglers, for they swim in shoals, and are captured with but 
little trouble. They are most abundant in the Gulf of Mexico. 
Another popular fish, peculiar to southern States, is the Blue 
Bream, which takes the fly, and attains the weight of one 
pound, but is only found in fresh-water streams or lakes. The 
Brum is also a noted southern fish. It is the largest scale fish 
that we have, and derives its name from a noise it is in the 
habit of making during the spawning season. It is the most 
abundant on the coasts of the Carolinas and Georgia, is taken 
ten months in the year, but only takes the^hook during the 
lave season. 

TJ^ Blue Fish, — The name of this glorious fish reminds us 



392 FISHING IN GENERAL. 

of the ground swell, and sends through our whole frame a thrill 
of pleasure. They are a species of mackerel, attaining in cer- 
tain places the weight of a dozen pounds. They swim in shoals, 
and are taken with a trolling line and an ivory squid. Our 
favorite mode for taking them has ever been from a small boat 
with a hand line, though many people prefer taking them from 
a sail-boat when running before a breeze. They are quite as 
active a fish as we have ever seen, and the strength of their 
jaws is so great that we have known them to bite off a man's 
finger. When fresh and fat we consider them quite as delicate 
as the real mackerel, and much better than the black fish. 
They are found on the sea-coast as far south as Norfolk (where 
they are called tailors,) but they are particularly abundant 
along the shores of Connecticut and Rhode Island. In some 
places we have often found them so numerous, that we have 
seen a dozen of them darting after our squid at the same in- 
stant. They are in season during the whole of summer^and 
autumn. 

Another capital fish that we have caught " all along shore," 
between New York and Cape Cod, is the weak jUh, or sque- 
teagu£. It never comes into the fresh water rivers, and usually, 
makes its appearance about harvest time. Its habits are simi- 
lar to those of the striped bass, and in appearance it closely 
resembles the ciseovet of Lake Superior. They commonly 
weigh from three to five pounds, though they have been taken 
weighing nearly ten. They are bold biters, and highly esteemed 
for their sweetness. 

With regard to the remaining fish found on our seabord we 
are disposed to be brief. The mackerel we esteem, and have 
had rare sport in taking them^ but we look upon them as the 
exclusive property of our merchants. The halibut we admire, 
but fear, for he reminds us of one of the most fatiguing pisca- 
torial adventures we ever experienced, when we hooked a thirty- 
pounder in the Atlantic, one hundred miles off Nantucket. As 
to the eody we have only to say that we have caught them off 
Nahant by the htmdred, and never wish to catch any more ; 
like the mackerely we consider them the exclusive property of 



FlSHma IK QBHEEAL. 

mercantile fraternity. With the king fith and dr 
TrhoUy unacquainted. The torn eod and eonner a 
h we despise, and our antipathy to snakes has always ■ 
a avoid the 6el, Of the sea ha»» and pauffse, if we 
; to say, we would indite a long paragraph, for we i 
I both. As to the ihad and gea sturgeon, we shall t 
1 with an angler's scorn, for they know not what it 

the hook. The pollock, by the way, is another pi 
to capture, and is associated, in our minds, with man 
)y days spent with Daniel Webster, in his own yat 
shfield. And now that we have reached the bottom 
page (devoted to the finny tribes,) we are reminded 
■ peculiar but sweet and valuable fish, which are ever 

at the bottom of the sea — the flounder a,Qd flat-JiaJi, 
ae and oft have we taken them both with the hot 
r, and we can pay them no higher compliment th 
tioning the fact that they are particular favorites w: 
nguished painter, William S. Mount, Esq., of 
ad. 



Mm. Jegenbs, 



THE SHOOTING METEORS. 



Among the Indians who live upon the north-eastern shore of 
Lake Huron, a remnant of the Iroquois, it is believed that the 
heavens contain only four meteors which have the power of 
shooting through the sky. It is thought tlicy severally occupy 
the four quarters of th^compass, and that they never perform 
their arrowy journey excepting for the purpose of warning the 
Huron Indians of approaching war. The meteors in question, 
or Pun gung-nung, are recognized by their peculiar brilliancy, 
and universally considered the Manitoes or guardian spirits of 
the entire Indian race. They came into existence at the same 
period of time which witnessed the creation of Lake Huiou 
itself, and the legend which accounts for their origin is distin- 
guished for the wild and romantic fancies of the aborigines. I 
obtained it from a chief named On qwa-Bug, or Floating Wood. 

It was the winter time, and an Indian with his wife and two 
children, a daughter and a son, were living in a wigwam on a 
bleak peninsula of the Great Lake. The game of that section 
of country had nearly all disappeared, and the fish were spend- 
ing the season in such deep water, that it was quite impossible 
to secure any of them for food. Everything seemed to go 



THE SHOOTING METEORS. 



395 



wrong with the poverty-stricken Indian, and he was constantly 
troubled with the fear that the Master of Life intended to an- 
nihilate his family and himself by starvation. He expressed 
his anxiety to his wife, and was surprised to hear her answer 
with a song. 

Nearly half a moon had passed away, and the sufferings of 
this unfortunate family were melancholy in the extreme. 
Whole days did the father spend roaming through the forests, 
with his bows and arrows, and on four several evenings had he 
returned without even a pair of tiny snow-birds for a supper. 
The ill-luck which attended him in his expeditions made him 
very miserable, but he was frequently astonished and alarmed, 
on such occasions, by the conduct of his wife and children. 
When he gave them an account of his ill luck in obtaining 
game, instead of manifesting any anxiety, they usually ran 
about the wigwam with their fingers on their mouths, and utter- 
ing a singular moan. He noticed with fear that they were 
becoming greatly emaciated for the want of food. So deepiy 
grieved was the poor man, that he almost resolved to bury him- 
self in the snow and die. He made a better resolution and 
again went out to hunt. 

On one occasion he had wandered into the weods to an un- 
usual distance, aid, as fortune would have it, was successful in 
finding and shooting a single rabbit. With the speed of a deer 
did he return to his cabin (with his braided shoes over the 
crusted snow,) but he now met with a new disappointment. On 
entering his lodge he found the fire entirely out, and the simple 
utensils for cooking all scattered about in great confusion ; but 
what was far more melancholy, his wife and children were gone, 
and he knew not where to find them. The more he thought 
upon what had happened for many days past, the more bewil- 
dered did he become. He threw down his game almost in 
despair, and hurried out of his cabin in search of his missing 
family. He looked in every direction, but could see no signs 
of their appearing, and the only noise that he could possibly 
hear was a singular and most doleful moan, resembling the wail 
of a loon, which seemed to come from the upper air. By a 



896 THE SHOOTING METEORS. 

4 

natural instinct he raised his eyes towards the heavens, and 
beheld perched upon the dry limb of a tall tree, 'which stood a 
short distance off, all the members of his family. He shouted 
with delight at the unexpected spectacle, and, rushing towards 
the tree, told his wife and children that they must come down, 
for he had killed a rabbit, and they would now have a good 
feast. But again was he astonished to find his words unheeded. 
Again did he beseech them to come down, but they replied not 
a single word, and looked upon him with eyes that seemed made 
of fire. "And what was still more wonderful, it was evident 
that they had thrown aside their beaver and deer-skin dresses, 
and were now decked out in newly fashioned robes, made of 
the fur of the white fisher and the white fox. All this was 
utterly inexplicable, and the poor husband re-entered his lodge, 
bewildered and perplexed to a marvelous degree. 

Then it was that the idea entered his head that he would try 
an experiment, by appealing to the hunger of his obstinate wife 
arfd children. He therefore cleaned the rabbit and boiled a sweet 
soup which he carried out, and with which he endeavored to 
allure his friends to the earth. But this attempt was all in 
vain. The mother and her children expressed no desire for the 
food, and stiirremained upon the tree, swaying to and fro like 
a flock of large birds. Again in his wretchedliess was he about 
to destroy himself, but he took the precaution to appropriate 
the soup to its legitimate purpose. Soon as this business was 
accomplished, he relapsed into his former state of melancholy, 
from which he was suddenly aroused by the moans of his wife, 
which he was sure had an articulate tone. Again was he riveted 
to his standing place under the magic tree, and from the moan- 
ing of his wife he gathered the following intelligence. She told 
him that the Master of Life had fallen in love with her and her 
two children, and had therefore transformed them all into spi- 
rits, with a view of preparing them for a home in the sky. She 
also told him that they would not depart for their future home 
until the coming spring, but would, in the meantime, roam in 
distant countries till the time of his own transportation should 
arrive. Having finished her communication, she and her children 



THE SHOOTING METEORS. 397 

mediately commenced a soDg, vhich resembled the distant 
ids, when they all rose gracefully from the tree, and leaning 
ward upon the air, darted away across the lake toward the 
note South. 
A cheerless and forlorn moon did the poor Indian spend in 

lonely lodge on the margin of the Great Lake, Spring 
ne, and jost as the last vestige of snow had melted from the 
ods, and at the quiet evening hour, hia spirit-wife again made 
r appearance, accompanied by her two children. She told her 
sband that he might become a spirit by eating a certain berry. 
! was delighted with the idea, and, complying with her advice, 

suddenly became transformed into a spirit, and having 
iTO to the side of his wife and children, the party gradually 
jaa to ascend into the air, when the Master of Life thought 
)per to change them into a family of Shooting Stars. He 
otted to each a particular division of the heavens, and com- 
.nded them to remain there forever, as the guardians of the 
;at nation of Lake Huron. 



THE MAIDEN OF THE MOON. 



The following legend was obtained from the lips of a Chippewa wo- 
man named Penaqua, or the Female Pheasant, and I hardly know which 
to admire most, the simple beauty of the plot, or the graphic and uniqae 
manner of the narrative, of which, I regret to say, I can hardly give a 
faithful translation. 

Among the rivers of the North, none can boast of more nu- 
merous charms than the St. Louis, and the fairest spot of the 
earth which it waters is that where now stands the trading post 
of Fond du* lac. Upon this spot, many summers ago, there 
lived a Chippewa chief and his wife, who were the parents of an 
only daughter. Her name was Weesh — Ko-da-e-mire, or the 
Sweet Strawberry, and she was acknowledged to be tha most 
beautiful maiden of her nation. Her voice was like that of 
the turtle-dove, and the red deer was not more graceful and 
sprightly in its form. Her eyes were brilliant as the star of the 
northern sky, which guides the hunter through the wilderness, 
and her dark hair clustered around her neck like grape vines 
around the trunk of the tree they loved. The young men of 
every nation had striven to win her heart, but. she smiled upon 
none. Curious presents were sent to her from the four quar- 
ters of the world, but she received them not. Seldom did she 
deign to reply to the many warriors who entered her father's 
lodge, and when she did, it was only to assure them that while 
upon earth she would never change her condition. Her strange 
conduct astonished them, but did not subdue their affection. 
Many and noble were the deeds they performed, not only in 
winning the white plumes of the eagle, but in hunting the elk 



THB MAIDEN OF TflE MOON. 399 

and the black bear. But all their exploits availed them nothing, 
for the heart of the beautiful girl was still untouched. 

The snows of winter were all gone, and the pleasant winds 
of spring were blowing oVer the land. The time for making 
sugar had arrived, though the men had not yet returned from 
the remote hunting grounds, and in the maple forests bright 
fires were burning, and the fragrance of the sweet sap filled all 
the air. The ringing laugh of childhood and the mature song 
of women, were heard in the valley, but in no part of the wil- 
derness could be found more happiness than on the banks of 
the St. Louis. But the Sweet Strawberry mingled with the 
young men and maidens of her tribe, in a thoughtful mood and 
with downcast eyes. She was evidently bowed down by some 
mysterious grief, but she neglected not her duties ; and though 
she spent much of her time alone, her buchere-bucket was as 
frequently filled with the sugar juice as any of her companions. 

Such was the condition of afiairs, when a party of young 
warriors from the far North came upon a frolic to the St. 
Louis River. Having seen the many handsome maidens of this 
region, the strangers became enamored of their charms, and 
each one succeeded in obtaining the love of a maiden, who 
was to become his bride during the marrying season of sum- 
mer. 

The warriors had heard of the Sweet Strawberry, but, neg- 
lected by all of them, she was still doomed to remain alone. 
She witnessed the happiness of her old playmates, and, won- 
dering at her own strange fate, spent much of her time in soli- 
tude. She even became so unhappy and bewildered that she 
heeded jKSt the tender words of her mother, and from that time 
the music of her voice was never heard. 

The sugar making season was now rapidly passing away, but 
the brow of the Sweet Strawberry was still overshadowed with 
grief. Everything was done to restore her to her wonted 
cheerfulness, but she remained unchanged. Wild ducks in in- 
numerable numbers arrived with every southern wind, and 
settled upon the surrounding waters, and proceeded to build 
their nests in pairs, and the Indian maiden sighed over her 



400 THE MAIDEN OF THE MOON. 

mysterious doom. On one occasion she espied a cluster of 
.early spring flowers peering above the dry leaves of the forest, 
and, strange to say, even these were separated into pairs, and 
seemed to be wooing each other in love. All things whispered 
to her of love, the happiness of her companions, the birds of 
the air, and the flowers. She looked into her heart, and in* 
wardly praying for a companion whom she might love, the 
Master of Life took pity upon her lot and answered her prayer. 
It was now the twilight hour, and in the maple woods the In- 
dian boys were watching their fires and the women were bring- 
ing in the sap from the surrounding trees. The time for 
making sugar was almost gone, and the well-filled mocucks^ 
which might be seen in all the wigwams, testified that the yield 
had been abundant. The hearts of the old women beat in 
thankfulness, and the young men and maidens were already 
beginning to anticipate the pleasures pf wedded life and those 
associated with the sweet summer time. But the brow of the 
Sweet Strawberry continued to droop, and her friends looked 
upon her as the victim of a settled melancholy. Her duties, 
however, were performed without a murmur, and so continued 
to be performed until the trees refused to fill her buchere-bucket 
with sap, when she stole away from the sugar camp and wan- 
dered to a retired place to muse upon her sorrows. Her unac- 
countable grief was very bitter, but did not long endure ; for, 
as she stood gazing upon the sky, the moon ascended above the 
hills and filled her soul with a joy she had never felt before^ 
The longer she looked upon the brilliant object, the more deeply 
in love did she become with its celestial charms, and she burst 
forth into a song — a loud, wild, and joyous song. Her musical 
voice echoed through the woods, and her friends hastened to 
ascertain the cause. They gathered around her in crowds, but 
she heeded them not. They wondered at the wildness of her 
words, and the airy-like appearance of her form. They were 
spell-bound by the scene before them, but their astonishment 
knew no limits when they saw her gradually ascend from the 
earth into the air, where she disappeared, as if borne upward 
by the evening wind. And then it was that they discovered 



THE MAIDEN OF THE MOON. 401 

her clasped in the emhraces of the moon, for they knew that 
the spots which they saw within the circle of that planet werg 
those of her robe, which she had made from the skins of the 
spotted fawn. 

Many summers have passed away since the Sweet Strawber- 
ry became the Maiden of the Moon, yet among all the people 
of her nation is she ever remembered for her beauty and the 
mystery of her being. 



THE GHOSTLY MAN-EATER 



There is an idea existing among the. Chippewa Indians, 
which corroborates a statement made by the early travellers on 
this continent relative to the belief that there once existed 
among the aboriginal tribes, a species of vampire, or ghostly 
man-eater. The Chippewas do not assert that there ever lived 
more than one of these unearthly beings ; but they pretend 
that such an one did, and does exist, and that he has his resi- 
dence upon an island in the centre of Lake Superior — which 
island can never be seen by mortal man, excepting when dark- 
ness has settled upon the world. The stories they relate of his 
appearance and deeds, are horrible in the extreme, and resem- 
ble much the creations of a mind suffering under the influence 
of the nightmare. For example, they describe this monster 
as possessing the material appearance of the human form— but 
of such a nature as not to be susceptible to the touch. He is 
said to have the body of a serpent, with human legs and arms 
— all supplied with immense nails, which he employs for the 
double purpose of digging up the earth, and dissecting the bo- 
dies upon which he feeds ; his head is like that of a wolf, and 
his teeth of a peculiar sharpness. 

The deeds which he performs are worthy of his personal ap- 
pearance — and some of them are as follows : When the Indian 
mother, during a long journey, has lost her infant child, and 
placed it on the rude scaffold, that she may return to it at some 
future day, the Ghostly Man-Eater only waits until she is fairly 
out of his sight, and then proceeds to the sacred place, and 
feasts himself upon the tender flesh and blood of his victim. 



'J'?: 



THE GHOSTLY MAK-EATER. 403 

And therefore it is, that the traveler sometimes sees, in the re- 
mote wilderness, fragments of human bones scattered on the. 
ground, as if a wolf had been suddenly interrupted, while de- 
vouring his prey. But the Man-Eater sometimes enters the 
house, or half-buried rec^tacle of the dead ; and, after dig- 
ging his way to the decaying body, coils himself up, as if in 
delight, and gluts his appetite with the unholy food. How it 
is'that he travels, with lightning speed, from one distant place 
to another, has never been ascertained ; but the strange sounds 
which the Indian occasionally hears, high in the air above his 
wigwam, is thought "to be the song of the Man-Eater, as he 
hurries upon the wings of the wind, from a recent banquet, to 
his mysterious island on the lake. 

But I once heard a legend in the Chippewa country, which 
accounted for the origin of the man-eating monster — and I now 
record it in the English tongue, for the benefit of those who 
feel an interest in the mythology of the Indian, and the pecu- 
liarities of his mind. The individual from whom I obtained this 
story was named Ka-yon-kee-me, or the Swift Arrow ; and his 
words, as near as we can remember them, were as follows : — 

I ask the white man to listen. At an early period in the 
history of the world, an old Indian hunter and a little boy who 
was his grandson, lived in an isolated cabin on the north shore 
of Lake Superior. They were the only remnants of a once 
powerful tribe of Indians, whose name is not now remembered. It 
was the middle of a long and dreary winter, and the entire coun- 
try was covered with snow, to the height of the tallest wigwam. 
The section of country where resided the hunter and child was 
particularly desolate, and destitute of almost every species of 
game ; and whilst the former was too feeble to wander far, after 
the necessary food, the latter was too young and inexperienced. 
The very wood which the unequal pair collected to keep them 
warm, was brought fo their cabin with the greatest difiSculty; 
and the thought occasionally entered the old man's mind, that 
the Great Spirit was about to give him up to the pains of star- 
vation. He uttered not a murmur, however ; but, as he reflected 
upon his impending fate, he bit his lips with a scornful smile. 



404 THE GHOSTLY MAN-EATER. 

One, two, and three days had passed away and the old man, as 
well as the child, had not tasted a particle of food. But, on the 
evening of the fourth day, the hoy came tottering into the com- 
fortless lodge and threw at the feet of his grandfather the lifeless 
body of a white partridge, which he had fortunately killed with 
his own arrow. Immediately was the bird divested of its featherg 
— and, while yet its very blood was warm, it was devoured by 
the starving man and child. Sweet was the slumber of the 
noble boy on that night — ^but, as the story goes, that aged man 
was visited by a dreadful dream at the same tiine, which made 
him a maniac. . 

Another day was nearly gone, and the unhappy pair were 
standing in front of their wigwam watching the western sky, 
as the sun enlivened it with his parting beams. The old man 
pointed to the bright picture, and told the boy that there was 
the gateway to the Spirit Land, where perp,etual summer reign- 
ed, and game was found in great abundance. He spoke too of 
the child's father and mother, and of his little brother, whom 
he described as decked out in the most beautiful of robes, as 
they wandered through the forests of that distant, shadowy 
land. The boy, though suffering with the pangs of hunger, 
clapped his little hands in glee, and told his grandfather that 
it would make him very happy if he could go to the land of 
perpetual summer. And then it was that the old man patted 
the boy upon his head, and told him that his desires should be 
realized before the sun again made its appearance above the 
snow-covered mountains and plains of the east. 

It was now the hour of midnight. Intensely cold was the 
wind which swept over the wilderness, but the sky was very 
blue, and studded with many stars. No sound broke upon the 
air, save the occasional groan of the ice along the lake shore, 
and the hissing whisper of the frost. Within the Indian lodge, 
which was the very home of desolation, the child was sweetly 
sleeping, enveloped in his robes, while the old man bent over 
the burning embers as if in despair. Some inhuman thought 
had crazed his brain, and he was nerving himself for an unheard 
of crime. One moment more, and in the dim light of that lonely 



THE OHOSTLT MAN-EATER. 

iodge, gleamed the poliehed blade of a flinty weapon — a i 
groan vas heard — and the Indian maniac nas feeding up 
body of his child. 

I have given the white man a sorrowful history, but it 
which the Chippewa nation believe. On the morning 
followed the event I hare now narrated, a party of India 
ters came to the cabin of the unknown man, and they 
him lying dead npon the ground, with the mangled remi 
the boy at his side. This was the most terrible deed whic 
happened in the Chippewa country — and the one wh 
greatly offended the Great Spirit, that he pronounced a 
upon the man who had destroyed his child for food — ai 
therefore, doomed him to live npon the earth forever, tore 
with an appetite which nothing can ever appease, but t 
caying flesh of the human race. 



THE FIBE-WATER SACRIFICE. 



[E Hstorical tradition which I am now to narrate, is said 
ve occurred at an earlj day on the extreme westem point 
bat is now called Drummond's Island, in the northern 
s of Lake Huron. I obtained it from the lips of Kah-ge- 
h-bowh, or Upright Standing, a jonng chief of the Chip- 
y nation, who assured me that it commemorated the first 
iuction of the baneful Fire-water into the Indian country, 
was the afternoon of a pleasant day m the autumn-time, 

a trading canoe landed on Drummond's Island, in the 
diate vicinity of a Chippewa village. It belonged to a 
:h trader, and was laden with a barrel of whisky, which 
d brought from the lower country. Soon as he had de- 
id his barrel upon the beach, he called together the men of 
llage, and told them that he had it in his power to supply 
with a beverage which would make them exceedingly happy, 
liat he was willing to supply them with what they wanted, 
3ed they would give into his hands all the furs they had 
eir possession. A bargain was consequently made, and 

the entire population of the Tillage were quaffing the 
ul fire-water, the trader packed away his treasures in the 
, and under cover of the night, started upon hia return to 
it. 

i moon and stars came forth in the northern sky, and the 
lound which broke the solitude of the wilderness, issued 
the Indian village, where the medicine man and the chief, 
idian mother and her infant, were shouting and dancing 
ghting in a delirium of madness. The carousal did not 



THE FIRE-WATER SACRIFICE. 407 

end until the break of day, and soon as the sun was fairly risen 
above the horizon, it was rumored in every wigwam that a 
young hunter, named Ne-mo-a-Kim, or Purple Shelly had taken 
the life of a brother hunter, who happened to be his dearest 
friend. An apparent gloom rested upon every countenance, 
and as the more aged Indians reflected upon the sudden disap- 
pearance of the trader, and upon the headache which many 
of them endured, they became greatly enraged, and attributed 
the calamity which had befallen them to the burning water. 
But the trader who had brought it to them was beyond their 
reach; so they buried the murdered man with appropriate 
honors, and then announced that a council should be immedi* 
ately held to decide upon the fate of the murderer. Blood Cor 
blood was demanded by the relatives of the deceased ; the time- 
honored law of the Chippewjvs could not be evaded, and a 
delegation was appointed to prepare Ne-mo-a-Kim for the sac- 
rifice. His lodge was entered by the ministers of death, but 
Ne-mo-a-Kim was not there. They hunted for him in all the 
wigwams of the village^ but nowhere could he be found. The 
old men who had suffered with him in the remote wilderness, 
and had never known him to be guilty of a cowardly deed, now 
shook their heads in sorrow and disappointment. Another 
council was held, another ancient law remembered, and it was 
again decided that the only relative and brother of Ne-pK^-Kim 
should suffer in his stead. The name of that brother was Ma- 
Ko-nah, or The Unbending Pine^ and when they informed- hijn 
of his fate, he uttered not a murmur, but demanded that his 
execution should take place on the following night at the rising 
of the moon. 

And now for another scene in our strange story. The sun 
has long been absent from the western sky, and once more has 
the solemn midnight settled upon the world. The inhabitants 
of the Indian village have assembled upon a level green. 
Firmly in the earth have they planted a stake, on either side 
of which are burning a couple of huge fires, while at the dis- 
tance of about one hundred feet may be discerned a crowd of 
eight or ten young men, who are bending their bows and 



408 THE FIRE-WATER SACRIFICE. 

straightening their arrows for the cruel deed. A small white 
cloud makes its appearance above the horizon, and a murmur 
of excitement issues from the crowd of human beings. The 
proud form of an Indian is now seen marching across the green, 
when the name of Ma-Ko-nah is whispered from ear to ear, and 
an unearthly shout ascends into the upper air. The heroic 
man stands before the stake, and looks with scorn upon the 
withes lying at his feet. The people have confided in his bra- 
very, and they will not humble his proud spirit by resorting to 
the disgraceful implements of security. Upon his naked breast 
has the Indian hero painted the uncouth figure of a swan, as a 
certain mark for the arrows which are to deprive him of life. 
Abound his waist has he carefully adjusted his richest robe, and 
by a motion of his hand, has signified his intention of delivering 
a speech ; an intense silence reigns throughout the surrounding 
multitude, and Ma-Ko-nah thus addresses his cowardly brother, 
whose spirit he imagines to be hovering near. 

" Willingly do I die for you, my brother, but you have dis- 
graced your nation. Your name will hereafter be hissed at by 
the little boys, when they pick up the purple shells on the lake 
shore. I am going to the Spirit Land, and while I shall be 
happy in the possession of every good, you will be despised by 
all who learn your history. Your food will be bitter, and the 
groun(^ upon which you will have to sleep will always be un- 
even, and covered with thorns and stones. You are a coward, 
my brother ; but Ma-Ko-nah is a brave man, and not afraid to 
die." 

Loud and long was the shout which replied to this proud 
speech. All things were now ready, and the fatal moment, 
when the rim of the moon should appear above the distant 
waters, was nigh at hand. Another snowy cloud floated into 
view, and just as the signal to fire was about to be given by the 
great medicine man, Ne-mo-a-Kim suddenly burst through the 
crowd, and threw liimself upon the ground before his brother 
Ma-Ko-nah. To describe the confusion which followed were 
quite impossible. It were sufficient to know that Ma-Ko-nah 
was released from his obligation, and while he was to continue 






• 



THK FIRE-WATER SACRIFICE. 409 

in the land of the living, his repentant brother was to perish. 
Bat thongh he now yielded himself as a willing sacrifice, his in- 
tegrity had been doubted, and the lately nntonched thongs were 
used to bind him to the stake. All things were again ready, 
the signal was giveta, the loud twang of the bow-strings pulled 
at the same instant was heard, and the Chippewa murderer was 
weltering in his own blood. 

The night was far spent, the silence of the grave rested upon 
the wilderness village, and all the Indians, save one, were asleep 
in their wigwams. But Ma-Ko-nah was filled with grief, and 
the remaining hours of that night did he spend in his lodge, 
mourning over the body of his unfortunate and only brother. 
His father and mother were both dead, and so also was his wife, 
and the heart of Ma-Ko-nah was very desolate. So endeth 
the story of The Fire^Water Sacrifice. 



VOL. n. — ^B* 



ORIGIN OF THE CATAWBA INDIANS. 



Therb was a time when the world was an unbroken waste of 
rocks, hillsy and monntains, save only pne small valley, which 
was distinguished for its Inxuriance, and where reigned a per- 
petual summer. At that time, too, the only human being who 
inhabited the earth was a woman, whose knowledge was con- 
fined to this valley, and who is remembered among the Cataw- 
bas as the mother of mankind. She lived in a cavern, and her 
food consisted of the honey of flowers, and the sweet berries 
and other fruits of the wilderness. Birds without number, and 
the wild streams which found a resting-place in the valley, made 
the only music which she ever heard. Among the wild ani- 
mals, which were very numerous about her home, she wandered 
without any danger ; but the beaver and the doe were her fa- 
vorite companions. In personal appearance she was eminently 
beautiful, and the lapse of years only had a tendency to in- 
crease the brightness of her eyes and the grace of her move- 
ments. The dress she wore was made of those bright green 
leaves which enfold the water lilies, and her hair was as long 
as the grass which fringed the waters of her native vale. She 
was the ruling spirit of a perennial world, for even the very 
flowers which bloomed about her sylvan home were never known 
to wither or die. In spite of her lonely condition, she knew 
not what it was to be lonely ; but ever and anon a strange de- 
sire found its way to her heart, which impelled her to explore 
the wild country which surrounded her home. For many days 
had she resisted the temptation to become a wanderer from her 
charming valley, until it so happened, on a certain morning, 



r 



ORiaiN or THE CATAWBA INDEAHa. 

that a scarlet bntterflj made its appearance before the d< 
her cave, and by the ham of ita wings invited her away, 
obeyed the Bnmmons, and followed the hatterfly far up a i 
rBviae, nntil she came to the foot of a huge waterfall, 
she waa deserted by her • mysterioos pilot, and first be 
acquunted with the emolion of fear. Her passage ol 
ravine had been comparatirely smooth ; but when she e 
Tored, in her consternation, to retrace her steps, she fonn 
efforts nnavailing, and fell to the ground in despair. A 
sleep then oreroame her senses, irom which she was not 
keued until the night waa far spent ; and then the dampui 
the dew had fallen apon her soft limba, and for the first 
in her life did she feel the pang of a bodily pain. ' Forlon 
desolate iodeed was her condition, and she felt that some 
event viB about to happen, when, as she uncovered her 
and turned it to the sky, she beheld, bending over her pros 
form, and clothed in a cloud-like robe, the image of a 1 
somewhat resembling herself, only that he was more 8t 
made, and of a much fiercer aspect. Her first emotion a 
strange discovery was that of terror ; but as the myste 
being looked upon her in kindness, and raised her lov 
from the ground, she confided in bis protection, and listen 
his words until the break of day. 

He told her that he was a native of the far off sky, and 
he had discovered her in her forlorn condition while travc 
from the evening to the morning star. He told her also 
he had never before seen a being so soft and beautifully fo 
as she. In coming to her rescue he had broken a comma 
the Great Spirit, or the Master of Life, and, as he was a 
to return to the sky, he desired to spend his days in he 
oiety upon earth. With joy did she accept this proposal ; 
as the sun rose above the distant mountains, the twaii 
turned in safety to the luxuriant vale, where, as man 
woman, for many moons, they lived and loved in perfect 
quillity and joy. 

In process of time the woman became a mother ; from v 
time the happiness of the twain became more intense, but 



412 ORIGIN OF THE CATAWBA INDIANS. 

&t the same time endured more troubles than they had ever 
known before. The man was unhappy because he had offended 
the Master of Life, and the mother was anxious about the com- 
fort and happiness of her newly-born child. Many and devout 
were the prayers they offered the Great Spirit for his guidance 
and protection, for they felt that from them were to be de- 
scended a race of beings more numerous than the stars of 
heaven. The Great Spirit had compassion on these lone in- 
habitants of the earth ; and, in answer to their prayers, he 
caused a mighty wind to pass over the world, making the moun- 
tains crowd closely together, and rendering the world more 
useful Mid beautiful by the prairies and valleys and rirera 
which now cover it, from the rising to the setting sun. The 
Master of Life also told his children that he would give them 
the earth and all that it contidned as their inheritance ; but 
that they should never enjoy their food without labor, should 
be annually exposed to a season of bitter cold, and that their 
existence should be limited by that period of time when their 
heads should become as white as the plumage of the swan. 
And so endeth the words of the Catawba. 



THE LONG CHASE. 



It was a BUmmer day, and my birchen canoe, paddled by a 
party of Chippewa Indians, was gliding along the southern 
shore of Lake Saperion We hacf left the Apostle Islands, and 
were wending our way towards tKe mouth of the Ontonagon, 
where we intended to spend the night. Behind us reposed in 
beauty the Emerald Islands, in our front appeared the Porcu* 
pine Mountains, the sky above was without a cloud, and the 
waste of sleeping waters was only broken by the presence of a 
lonely swan, which seemed to be following in our wake, appa* 
rently for the sake of our companionship. I was delighted 
with the scene which surrounded me, and having requested my 
comrades to refill their pipes from my tobacco-pouch, I inquired 
for an adventure or a story connected with this portion of the 
lake. I waited but for a moment, when the chief of the party, 
O-gee-matv-ffe-zhiekf or Chief of the Sky, signified his intention 
by a sudden exclamation, and. proceeded with the following his*^ 
torical tradition : 

The Indian warrior of other days seldom thought that dis« 
tance ought to be considered when he went forth to battle 
against his enemies, provided he was certain of winning the 
applause of his fellow men. Fatigue and hunger were alike 
looked upon as unimportant considerations, and both endured 
without a murmur. 

The white man had not yet become the owner of this wilder- 
ness, and our nation was at war with the Iroquois, who had in* 
vaded our territory. At this time it was that a party of six 
Iroquois runners had been sent by their leading chiefs from Ee- 



414 THE LONG CHASE. 

wa-we-non, on the southern shore of Lake Superior, to examine 
the position of the Chippewas, who were supposed to be on an 
island called Moo-ne-quah-na-kon-ing. The spies having ar- 
rived opposite the island where their enemies were encamped 
(which island was about three miles from the main shore,) they 
built a war-canoe out of the bark of an elm tree, launched it at 
the hour of midnight, and, having implored the god of war to 
smile upon them and keep the lake in peace, they landed on 
the island, and were soon prowling through the village of the 
unconscious Chippewas. 

They were so cautious in all their movements, that their foot- 
steps did not even awaken the sleeping dogs. It so happened, 
however, that they were discovered, and that, too, by a young 
woman, who, according to ancient custom, was leading a soli- 
tary life previous to becoming a mother. In her wakefulness 
she saw them pass near her lodge and heard them speak, but 
could not understand their words, though she thought them to 
be of the Na-do-was tribe. When they had passed, she stole 
out of her own wigwam to that of her aged grandmother, whom 
she informed of what she had seen and heard. The aged wo- 
man only reprimanded her daughter for her imprudence, and 
did not heed her words. " But, mother," replied the girl, " I 
speak the truth ; the dreaded Na-do-was are in our village ; and 
if the warriors of the Buffalo Race do not heed the story of a 
foolish girl, their women and tlieir children must perish." The 
words of the girl were finally believed, and the warriors of the 
Crane and Buffalo tribes prepared themselves for the capture. 
The war-whoop echoed to the sky ; and the rattling of bows 
and arrows was heard in every part of the island. In about 
an hour, the main shore was lined with about eight hundred 
canoes, whose occupants were anxiously waiting for the appear- 
ance of the spies. These desperate men, however, had made 
up their minds to try the mettle of their oars to the utmost, 
and, as the day was breaking, they launched their canoe from 
a woody cove, shot round the island, and started in the direc- 
tion of the Porcupine Mountains, which were about sixty miles 
distant. Soon as they came in sight of the Chippewas, the 



THB LONG CHASE. 415 

latter became quite frantio, and, giving their accnstomed yell, 
the whole multitude started after them swift as the flight of 
gulls. The mighty lake was without a ripple ; and the beauti- 
ful fish in its bosom wandered about their rocky haunts in per- 
fect peace, unconscious of the dreadful strife which was going 
on above. The canoes of the pursued and the pursuers moved 
with magic speed. The Iroquois were some two miles ahead, 
and while they strained every nerve for life, one voice rose 
high into the air, with a song of invocation to the spirits of 
their race for protection ; and, in answer to their petition, a 
thick fog fell upon the water, and caused great confusion. One 
of the Chippewa warriors laid down his paddle, seized his mys- 
terious rattle (made of deer's hoof,) and, in a strange, wild 
son^ implored the spirit^ of his race to clear away the fog, 
that they might only see their enemies. The burthen of the 
song was : — 

" Mon e-tou ne bah bah me tah wah 
Ke shig ne bah bah me tah goon 
Ah bee ne nah wah goom me goon 
Men ke che dah awas — awas.'^ 

Which may be translated as follows : — 

" Spirit ! whom I have always obeyed, 
Here cause the skies now to obey, 
And place the waters in our power. • 
We are warriors — away, away." 

Just as the last strain died upon the air, the fog quickly rolled 
away, and the Iroquois spies were discovered hastening towards 
the shore, near Montreal river. Then came the fog again, and 
then departed, in answer to the conflicting prayers of the na- 
tions. Long and awfully exciting was the race. But the (xreat 
Spirit was the friend of the Chippewa, and just as the Iroquois 
were landing on the beach, four of them were pierced with ar- 
rows, and the remaining two taken prisoners. A council was 
then called, for the purpose of deciding what should be done 
with them ; and it was determined that they should be tortured 
at the stake. They were fastened to a tree, and surrounded 



416 THB LONG CHASB. 

"with wood^ when, just as the torch was to be applied, an aged 
warrior stepped forth from the crowd of spectators, and thus 
addressed the assemblj: — 

" Why are you to destroy these men ? They are brave war- 
riors, but not more distinguished than we are. We can gain 
no benefit from their death. Why will you not let them live, 
that they may go and tell their people of our power, and that 
our warriors are numerous as the stars of the northern sky.'* 
The council pondered upon the old man's advice, and there was 
a struggle between their love of revenge and love of glory ; 
but both became victorious. One of the spies was released, 
and, as he ascended a narrow valley, leading to the Porcupine 
Mountains, the fire was applied to the dry wood piled round 
the form of the other ; and in the d^kness of midnight,>^and 
amid the shouting of his cruel enemies, the body of the Iroquois 
prisoner was consumed to ashes. The spot where the sacrifice 
took place has been riven by many a thunderbolt since then, 
for the god of war was displeased with the faint-heartedness of the 
Chippewa, in valuing a name more highly than the privilege of 
revenge ; and the same summer, of the following year, which 
saw the humane Chippewa buried on the shore of Superior, also 
saw the remains of the pardoned spy consigned to the earth on 
the shore of Michigan. 

Thus ended the legend of Shah-gah-wah-mik, one of the 
Apostle Islands, which the French named La Pointe, and which 
was originally known as Moo-ne-quah-na-kon-ing. The village 
stood where the old trading establishment is now located ; and 
among the greenest of the graves in the hamlet of La Pointe 
is that where lie the remains of the Indian girl who exposed 
herse^ to reproach for the purpose of saving her people. 



THE LONE BUFFALO. 



Among the legends which the traveler frequently hears, 
while crossing the prairies of the Far West, I remember one 
which acconnts in a most romantic manner for the origin of 
thunder. A summer-storpi was sweeping over the land, and I 
had sought a temporary shelter in the lodge of a Sioux, or 
Dacotah Indian on the banks of the St. Peter's. Vividly flashed 
the lightning, and an occasional peal of thunder echoed through 
the firmament. While the storm continued my host and his 
family paid but little attention to my comfort, for they were all 
evidently stricken with terror. I endeavored to quell their 
fears, and for that purpose asked them a variety of questions 
respecting their people, but they only replied by repeating, in 
a dismal tone, the name of the Lone Buffalo. My curiosity 
was of course excited, and it may readily be imagined that I 
did not resume my journey without obtaining an explanation of 
the mystic words ; and from him who first uttered them in the 
Sioux lodge I subsequently obtained the following legend : — 

There was a chief of the Sioux nation whose name was the 
Master Bear. He was famous as a prophet and hunter, and 
was a particular favorite with the Master of Life. In an evil 
hour he partook of the white man's fire-water, and in a fighting 
broil unfortunately took the life of a brother chief. According 
to ancient custom blood was demanded for blood, and when next 
the Master Bear went forth to hunt, Jie was waylaid, shot 
through the heart with an arrow, and his body deposited in 
front of his widow's lodge. Bitterly did the woman bewail her 
misfortune, now mutilating her body in the most heroic manner, 



418 THE LONE BUFFALO. 

and anon narrating to her onlj son, a mere infant, the promi- 
nent events of her husband's life. Night came, and ivith her 
child lashed upon her back, the woman erected a scaffold on the 
margin of a neighboring stream, and with none to lend her a 
helping hand, enveloped the corpse in her more valuable robes, 
and fastened it upon the scaffold. She completed her task just 
as the day was breaking, when she returned to the lodge, and 
iihutting herself therein, spent the three following days without 
tasting food. 

During her retirement the widow had a dream, in which she 
was visited by the Master of Life. He endeavored to console 
her in her sorrow, and for the reason that he had loved her 
husband, promised to make her son a more famous warrior and 
medicine man than his father had been. And what was more 
remarkable, this prophecy was to be realized within the period 
of a few weeks. She told her story in the village, and was 
laughed at for her credulity. 

On the following day, when the village boys were throwing 
the ball upon the plain, a noble youth suddenly made his 
appearance among the players, and eclipsed them all in the 
bounds he made, and the wildness of his shouts. He was a 
stranger to all, but when the widow's dream was remembered, 
he was recognized as her son, and treated with respect. Eut 
the youth was yet without a name, for his mother had told him 
that he should win one for himself by his individual prowess. 

Only a few days had elapsed, when it was rumored that a 
party of Pawnees had overtaken and destroyed a Sioux hunter, 
when it was immediately determined in council that a party 
of one hundred warriors should start upon the war-path and 
revenge the injury. Another council was held for the purpose 
of appointing a leader, when a young man suddenly entered 
the ring and claimed the privilege of leading the way. His 
authority was angrily questioned, but the stranger only replied 
by pointing to the brilliant eagle's feathers on his head, and 
by shaking from his belt a large number of fresh Pawnee scalps. 
They remembered the stranger boy, and acknowledged the 
supremacy of the stranger man. 



THE LONB BUFFALO. 419 

Night settled upon the prairie Tforld, and the Sioux warriors 
started upon the war-path. Morning dawned, and a Pawnee 
village was in ashes, and the bodies of many hundred men, 
women, and children were left upon the ground as food for the 
wolf and vulture. The Sioux warriors returned to their own 
^icampment, when it was ascertained that the nameless leader* 
had taken more than twice as many scalps as his brother war- 
riors. Then it was that a feeling of jealousy arose, which was 
soon quieted, however, by the news that the Crow IndianS had 
stolen a number of horses and many valuable furs from a Sioux 
hunteras he was returning from the mountains. Another war- 
like expedition was planned, and as before, the nameless warrior 
took the lead. 

The sun was near his setting, and as the Sioux party looked 
down upon . a Crow village, which occupied the centre of a 
charming valley, the Sioux chief commanded the attention of 
his braves and addressed them in the following language : 

"I am about to die, my brothers, and must speak my mind. 
To be fortunate in war is your chief ambition, and because I 
have been successful you are unhappy. Is this right? Have 
you acted like men ? I despise you for your meanness, and I 
intend to prove to you this night that I am the bravest man in 
the nation. The task will cost me my life, but I am anxious 
that my nature should be changed and I shall be satisfied. I 
intend to enter the Crow village alone, but before departing, I 
have one favor to command. If I succeed in destroying that 
village, and lose my life, I want you, when I am dead, to cut 
off my head and protect it with care. You must then kill one 
of the largest buffaloes in the country and cut off his head. 
You must then bring his body and my head together, and breathe 
upon them, when I shall be free to roam in the Spirit-land at 
all times, and over our great prairie-land wherever I please. 
And when your hearts are troubled with wickedness remember 
the Lone Buffalo.'* 

The attack upon the Crow village was successful, but accord- 
ing to his prophecy the Lone Buffalo received his death wound, 
and his brother warriors remembered his parting request. The 




420 THE LONB BUFFALO. 

fate of the hero's mother is unknown, but the Indians believe 
that it is she who annually sends from the Spirit-land the warm 
winds of spring, which cover the prairies with grass for the 
sustenance of the Buffalo race. As to the Lone BuSiEdo, he is 
never seen even by the most cunning hunter, excepting when 
the moon is at its full. At such times he is invariably alone, 
cropping his food in some remote part of the prairies; and 
whenever the heavens resound with the moanings of the thun- 
der, the red man banishes from his breast every feeling of 
jealousy, for he believes it to be the warning voice of the Lone 
Buffalo. 



LEGENDS OF MACKINAW. 



I 



The original ladian name of this island was Mich-il-i-mack- 
i-nack, signifying the mammoth turtle. It is a beautiful spot 
of earth, and its origin is accounted for by the following 
Ottawa legend: 

When the world was in its infancy, and all the living 
creatures were wandering over its surface from their several 
birth places, for a permanent home, it so happened that a 
multitude of turtles came to the southern shore of Lake Erie. 
They found the country generally level, and were delighted 
with the muddy waters of the lake, and also with the many 
stagnant rivers and ponds which they discovered in its vicinity. 
But while the race were generally .satisfied with their discov- 
eries, and willing to remain where they were, the mammoth 
leader of the multitude resolved upon extending his journey to 
the north. He was allured to this undertaking by a strange 
light of exceeding* loveliness (supposed to be the Aurora 
Borealis,) which he had frequently observed covering the 
horizon. He endeavored to obtain a few companions for his 
intended pilgrimage but without success. This disappointment 
did not dishearten him, however, and as he remembered that 
the summer was only half gone, he determined to depart alone. 
Long and very circuitous was his journey, and many, beautiful 
and lonely, the bayous and swamps where he frequently tarried 
to rest himself and obtain refreshment. Summer, and nearly 
the whole of autumn were now passed, and the travelling turtle 
found himself on a point of land which partially divided the 
two lakes of Huron and Michigan. Already he had been 



422 LEGENDS OF MACKINAW. 

numbed by chilly winds, but his ambition was so great that he 
still persisted in his foolish pilgrimage. The day on which he 
made his final launch upon the waters, was particularly cold 
and desolate, and it so happened that in the course of a few 
days his career was stopped by the formation of an icy barrier, 
which deprived him of life and left him, a little black spot, on 
the waste of frozen waters. 

Spring returned once more, but while the ice gradually dis- 
solved itself into beautiful blue waves, the shell of the turtle 
was fastened to a marine plant or tall reed, and in process of 
time became an island, which the Indians appropriately named 
Mich-il-i-mack-i-nack, or the Mammoth Turtle. 

The individual from whom I obtained the above story was an 
Ottawa Indian ; and he told it to me as we sat together on 
the brow of the arched rock which has, from time immemorial, 
been considered the principal natural curiosity of Mackinaw. 

The following legend I obtained from the same source, and, 
like the majority of Indian stories, it is uncouth and unnatural; 
but interesting for the reason that it bears a curious analogy 
to a certain passage in the Old Testament. But this remark 
is applicable, I believe, to the early traditions of nearly all the 
aboriginal nations of North America. But to the tradition : 

Very many winters ago, the sun was regularly in the habit 
of performing his daily circuit across the heavens, and when 
the stars made their appearance in the sky, he invariably 
descended into an immense hole supposed to be located in tke 
remote west. But in process of time it so happened that a 
chief of the Ottawas committed an unheard of crime against 
the person of his only daughter, and the Master of Life became 
BO offended, that he caused a mighty wind to come upon the 
earth, whereby the rocky hills were made to tremble, and the 
waters which surround them to roar with a dreadful noise. 
During this state of things, whici) lasted for one whole day, 
the sun shot through the heavens with an unsteady motion, and 
when it had reached the zenith suddenly became fixed, as if 
astonished at the red man's wickedness. All the people of the 
Ottawa nation were greatly alarmed at this phenomenon, and 



LEGENDS OF MACKINAW. 423 

while they were gazing upon the luminary, it gradually changed 
into the color of blood, and with a dreadful noise, as if in a 
passion, it fell upon the earth. It struck the norj^ern shore 
of Mackinaw, formed the cavity of the Arched Bock, and so 
entered the earth, from which it issued in the far east, at an 
early hour on the following morning, and then resumed its usual 
journey across the heayens. 

Many, very many winters have passed away sihce the last- 
mentioned incident occurred, and it is true that even the present 
race of Indians can seldom be persuaded to approach the brow 
of the Arched Rock. Never have I heard of one who was suf- 
ficiently bold to walk over the arch, though the feat might be 
easily accomplished by any man with a steady nerve. The 
shores of the island of Mackinaw are almost entirely abrupt 
— and their general altitude is about one hundred and fifty 
feet ; but the summit of the Arched Rock has been estimated 
to be at least two hundred feet above the water. In connec- 
tion with the above stories, I might introduce a description of 
the island they commemorate, but such a description has al- 
ready been published in my " Summer in the Wilderness.'* 



GREEN-CORN CEREMONIES OP THE CHEROKEES. 



My main object in the present paper is to record a complete 
account of the ceremonies which were once practised by the 
Cherokee Indians, in connection with their principal agricul- 
tural pursuit of raising maize or Indian corn. For the great 
majority of my facts I am indebted to Mr. Preston Starritt, of 
Tennessee. While this is the case, hoYrever, I beg my readers 
to understand that I shall speak of the tribe in question as it 
existed in the times of old, when its members were the sole pro- 
prietors of the southern Alleghanies. Let us, then, banish 
from our minds the unhappy relations which brood over the 
Cherokees at the present time, and, by the aid of our fancy, 
mingle with the nation as it existed in its pristine glory. 

The snows of winter have melted from the mountain peaks, 
the rains are over and gone, the frosts are out of the ground, 
and the voice of the turtle is heard in the land. The beautiful 
valley to which we have journeyed is entirely surrounded with' 
mountains, about five miles square, 'watered by a charming 
stream, and inhabited by two thousand aborigines, who are 
divided into seven clans, and located in seven villages. The 
ruling men of the tribe have signified to their people that the 
period for planting corn has arrived, and that they must gather 
themselves together for the purpose of submitting to the annual 
ceremonies of purification. For doing this they have a double 
object : they would, in the first place, expunge from their bodies 
every vestige of all the colds and diseases with which they may 
have been afflicted during the past winter ; and, in the second 
place, they would propitiate the Great Spirit, so as to secure 



eREEN CORN OEBEMONIES OF THE GHEROEEES. 425 

liis blessing upon the crops Yrhich they are -about to deposit in 
the ground. The moon being now at its full, and a fitting lo- 
cation having been selected, the chiefs and magicians congre- 
gate together, and the preliminary measures are thus managed. 
A magic circle is made to keep out all evil spirits and enemies, 
and the medicine men then proceed to walk in single file, and 
with measured steps, completely around the spot which they 
would render sacred, and which ^is generally half a mile in 
diameter, marking their route by plucking a single leaf from 
every tree or bush which they may happen to pass, all these 
leaves being carefully deposited in a pouch carried for the pur- 
pose. In the mean time, the brotherhood of chiefs have not 
been unemployed, for while the most aged individual of alltias 
been making a collection of roots, the remainder have built a 
rude dam, and thereby formed a pond or pool of water on the 
creek which invariably waters the sacred enclosure. The en- 
tire population of the valley are now summoned to the outskirts 
of the sacred enclosure, and a general invitation extended to 
all to approach and join the chiefs and magicians in the rite 
they are about to perform; it being understood, however, that no* 
man, under penalty of death, shall venture to participate, or who 
has left a single wrong unrevenged, or committed any unmanly 
deed, and no woman who has given birth to a child since the 
preceding full moon. In the centre of the sacred ground, and in 
the vicinity of the pool, a large fire is now made, around which 
the multitude are congregated. The night is clear, and the moon 
and stars are flooding the earth with light. An earthen pot is 
now placed upon the fire, the roots gathered by the old chief, 
numbering seven varieties, are placed therein, also the leaves 
plucked by the magicians, when the pot is filled with water by 
seven virgins, who are promoted to this honor by the appoint- 
ment of the senior jchief. After the contents of the pot have 
been thoroughly boiled, and a most bitter but medicinal bever- 
age been made, all the persons present are called upon to take 
seven sips of the bitter liquid, and then directed to bathe no 
less than seven times in the neighboring pool, the waters of 
which have been rendered sacred by the incantations of the 

VOL. II. — 0* 



426 GREEN CORN CEREMONIES OF THE CHEROEEES. 

priests. All these things being done, the multitude assemble 
around the fire once more, and, to the music of a strange wild 
singing, they dance until the break of day, and then disperse 
to their several homes. The friendship of the Ghreat Spirit 
has now been secured, and therefore, as opportunity offers, the 
Indians proceed to loosen their ground, as best they may, and 
then plant their corn. This labor is performed chiefly by the 
women, and the planted fields are considered as under their 
especial charge. Though planted in the greatest disorder, 
they keep their cornfields entirely free of weeds, and the soil 
immediately around the corn in a loose condition. At every 
full moon they are commonly apprehensive that some calamity 
mei^jT befall their crop, and, by way of keeping the Great Spirit 
on their side, the women have a custom of disrobing themselves, 
at the dead hour of night, and of walking entirely around the 
field of com. 

And now that the sunshine and showers of summer are per- 
forming their ministry of good in bringing the corn to its 
wonted perfection, it may be well to make the reader acquainted 
with the following facts : As the Indians purify themselves and 
perform all their religious rites only when the moon is at its 
full, so do they refrain from plucking a single ear of corn until 
they have partaken of their annual harvest or.green-corn feast. 
This feast occurs on that night of the full moon nearest to the 
period when the corn becomes ripe ; and, by a time-honored 
law of the nation, no man, woman, or child is ever permitted, 
und^r penalty of death, to pluck a single roasting-ear. So 
rigidly enforced is this law that many Cherokees are known to 
have lost their lives for disobeying it, while many families have 
suffered the pangs of hunger for many days, even while their 
fields were filled with corn, merely because the harvest moon 
had not yet arrived, and they had not par^ken of their annulil 
feast. If a full moon should occur only one week *after the 
corn has become suitable to pluck, the Indians will not touch a 
single ear until the next moon, even if it should then be so 
hard as to require pounding Ibefore becoming suitable for food. 
During the ripening period the cornfields are watched with 



GRBBN COBN CEREMONIBS OF THE CHBROEBES. 427 

jealous care, and the first stalk that throws out its silken plume 
is designated by a distinguishing mark. In assigning reasons 
for this peculiar care, the Indians allege that until the harvest 
feast has taken place the corn is exclusively the property of 
the Great Spirit, and that they are only its appointed guardians ; 
and they also maintain that, when the corn is plucked before 
the appointed moon has arrived, the field which has thus been 
trespassed upon is sure to be prostrated by a storm ,or be af- 
flicted with the rot ; and therefore it is that they are always 
greatly alarmed when they discover that a cornfield has been 
touched, as they say, by the Evil One. 

But the harvest moon is now near at hand, and the chiefs 
and medicine men have summoned the people of the several 
villages to prepare themselves for the autumnal festival. An- 
other spot of ground is selected, and the same sanctifying cere- 
mony is performed that was performed in the previous spring. 
The most expert hunter in each village has been commissioned 
to obtain game, and while he is engaged in the hunt the people 
of his village are securing the blessing of the Great Spirit by 
drinking, with many mystic ceremonies, the liquid made from 
seven of the most bitter roots to be found amoug the moun- 
tains. Of all the game which may be obtained by the hunters, 
not a single animal is to be served up at the feast whose bones 
have been broken or mutilated ; nor shall a rejected animal be 
brought within the magic circle, but shall be given to those of 
the tribe who, by some misdeed, have rendered themselves un- 
worthy to partake of the feast. The hunters are always com- 
pelled to return from the chase at the sunset hour, and long 
before they come in sight of their villages they invariably give 
a shrill whistle, as a signal of good ^uck, whereupon the villagers 
make ready to receive them with a wild song of welcome and 
rejoicing. 

The pall of night has once more settled upon the earth, the 
moon is in its glory, the watch-fire has been lighted within the 
magic circle, and the inhabitants of the valley are again assem- 
bled together in one great multitude. From all the cornfields 
in the valley the magicians have collected the marked ears of 



428 GBEEN GOBN CEREMONIES OF THE CHEROEEES. 

corn, and deposited them in the kettles with the yarions kinds 
of game which may have been slaughtered, from the bear, the 
deer, and the turkey, to the opossum, the squirrel, and the 
quail. The entire night is devoted to eating, and the feast 
comes not to an end until all the food has been dispatched, 
when, in answer to an appropriate signal from the medicine 
men, the bones which have been stripped of their flesh are col- 
lected together and pounded to a kind of powder, and scattered 
through the air. The seven days following this feast are de- 
voted to dancing and carousing, and at the termination of this 
period the inhabitants of the valley retire to their various vil- 
lages, and proceed to gather in their crops of the sweet maize 
or Indian corn. 



\ 



THE OVERFLOWING WATERS 



A TRADITION OF THE CHOCTAWS. 



The world was in its prime, and time rolled on with its ac- 
customed regularity. The tiny streams among the hills and 
mountains shouted with joy, and the broad rivers wound* their 
wonted course along the peaceful valleys. Many a tall oak 
had grown from the acorn, spread its rich foliage to the sum- 
mer winds, decayed with age, and mingled with its mother 
earth. The moon and stars had long made the night-skies 
beautiful, and guided the Indian hunter through the wilderness. 
The sun which the red man calls the glory of the summer time, 
had never failed to appear at his appointed periods. Many 
generations of men had lived and passed away. 

In process of time the aspect of the world became changed. 
Brother quarreled with brother, and cruel wars frequently 
covered the earth with blood. The Great Spirit saw all these 
things and was displeased. A terrible wind swept over the 
wilderness, and the red men knew that they had done wrong, 
but they lived as if they did not care. Finally a stranger pro- 
phet made his appearance among them, and proclaimed in every 
village the news that the human race was to be destroyed. 
None believed his words, and the moons of summer again came 
and disappeared. It was now the autumn of the year. Many 
cloudy days had occurred, and then a total darkness came upon 
the earth, and the sun seemed to have departed forever. It 
was very dark and very cold. Men laid themselves down to 
sleep, but they were troubled with unhappy dreams. They 



A 



430 THE OVERFLOWINa WATERS. 

arose when they thought it was time for the day to dawn, but 
only to see the sky covered with a darkness deeper than the 
heaviest cloud. The moon and stars had all disappeared, and 
there was constantly a dismal bellowing of thunder in the up- 
per air. Men now believed that the sun would never return, 
and there was great consternation throughout the land. The 
great men of the Choctaw nation spoke despondingly to their 
fellows, and sung their death songs, but those songs were faintly 
heard in the gloom of the great night. It was a most unhappy 
time indeed, and darkness reigned for a great while. Men 
visited each other by torch-light. The grains and fruits of the 
land became mouldy, and the wild animals of the forest became 
tame and gathered around the watchfires of the Indians, enter- 
ing even the villages. 

A louder peal of thunder than was ever before heard now 
echoed through the firmament, and a light was seen in the 
North. It was not the light of the sun, but the gleam of dis- 
tant waters. They made a mighty roar, and, in billows like 
the mountains, they rolled over the earth. They swallowed up 
the entire human race in their career, and destroyed everything 
which had made the earth beautiful. Only one human being 
was saved, and that was the mysterious prophet who had fore- 
told the wonderful calamity. He had built him a raft of sassa- 
fras logs, and upon this did he float safely above the deep waters. 
A large black bird came and flew in circles above his head. He 
called upon it for aid, but it shrieked aloud, and flew away and 
returned to him no more. A smaller bird, of a bluish color, 
with scarlet eyes and beak, now came hovering over the pro- 
phet's head. He spoke to it, and asked if there was a spot of 
dry land in any part of the waste of waters. It fluttered its 
wings, uttered a sweet moan, and flew directly towards that 
part of the sky where the newly-born sun was just sinking in 
the waves. A strong wind now arose, and the raft of the pro- 
phet was rapidly borne in the same direction which the bird had 
pursued. The moon and stars again made their appearance, 
and the prophet landed upon a green island, where he encamp- 
ed. Here he enjoyed a long and refreshing sleep, and when 




THE OVERFLOWING WATERS* 431 

morning dawned he found that the island was covered with 
every variety of animals, excepting the great ShaJcanli, or 
mammoth, which had been destroyed. Birds, too, he also found 
here in great abundance. He recognized the identical black 
one which had abandoned him to his fate upon the waters, and, 
as it was a wicked bird and had sharp ' claws, he called it Ful 
luh'chittOj or bird of the Evil One. He also discovered, and 
with great joy, the bluish bird "which had caused the wind to 
blow him upon the island, and because of its kindness to him 
and its beauty, he called it Piu;h che-yon-sho-bay or the soft- 
voiced pigeon. The waters finally passed away, and in process 
of time^hat bird became a woman and the wife of the prophet, 
from whom the people now living upon the earth are all de- 
scended. And 80 endeth the story of The Overflowing Waters. 



■ r 

■ K 



THE NAMELESS CHOCTAW. 



Thebe once lived in the royal Indian town of E-ya-^ho 
(Ya-zoo) the only son of a war chief, who was eminently dis- 
tinguished above all his fellows for his elegant form and noble 
bearing. The old men of the nation looked upon him with 
pride, and said that he was certainly born to occupy a high po- 
sition as a warrior. He was also an eloquent orator, and none 
ever thought of doubting his courage. But, with all these 
qualities, he was not allowed a seat in the councils of his na- 
tion, because he had not distinguished himself in war. The 
renown of having slain an enemy he could not claim, nor had 
he ever been fortunate enough to take a single prisoner. He 
was universally beloved, and, as the name of his childhood had 
been abandoned according to an ancient custom, and he had 
not yet succeeded in winning a name worthy of his ability, he 
was known among his kindred as the Nameless Choctaw. 

In the town of E-ya-sho there also once lived the most beau- 
tiful maiden of her tribe. She was the daughter of a hunter, 
and the betrothed of the Nameless Choctaw. They met often 
at the great dances, but, because she hoped to become his bride, 
she treated him as a stranger. Often, too, did they meet at 
the setting of the sun, but then they listened to the song of the 
whippoorwill or watched the rising of the evening star, when 
each could hear the throbbing of the other's heart. They 
loved with a wild passion and were very happy. At such times 
one thought alone entered their minds to cast a shadow. It 
was this : They knew that the laws of their nation were unal- 
terable, and that she could not become his bride until he had 



THE NAMELESS CHOCTAW. 438 

won a name. She knew that he could always place at the door 
of her lodge an abundance of game, and would deck her with 
the most beautiful of shells and wampum ; but all this availed 
them nothing ; that he must go upon the war-path was inevita- 
ble. She belonged to a proud family, and she never would con- 
sent to marry a man who had not a loud sounding name, and 
•who could not sit in the councils of her people. She was will- 
ing to become his bride at any time, and therefore left him, by 
his prowess, to decide upon that time. 

It was now midsummer and the evening hour. The Nameless 
Lover had met his promised bride upon the summit of a small 
hill, covered with pines. From the centre of a neighboring 
plain arose the smoke of a large watch-fire, around which were 
dancing a party of four hundred warriors. They had planned 
an expedition against the Osages, and the present was the fourth 
and last night of the preparation ceremonies. Up to that eve- 
ning the Nameless Choctaw had been the leader in the dances, 
and even now his absence was only temporary, for he had stolen 
away to express his parting vows to his beloved. The last em- 
brace was given, and then the maiden was alone upon the hill- 
top, looking down in sadness upon the dancing warriors, among 
whom she beheld none who commanded more attention than the 
being whom she loved. 

Morning dawned, and the Choctaw warriors were upon the 
war-path leading to the country of their enemies, far up on the 
headwaters of the Arkansas. Upon that stream they found a 
cave, and in that cave, because they were on a praire land, they 
secreted themselves. Two men were then selected to act as 
spies, one of whom (the Nameless Choctaw,) was to reconnoitre 
in the west and the other in the east. Night came, and the 
party in the cave were discovered by an Osage hunter, who had 
traveled thither for the purpose of sheltering himself until 
morning from the heavy dews. By the light of the stars did 
he then travel to the nearest village, and hUving warned his 
people of the proximity of their enemies, they hurried in a 
'large body to the cave. At its mouth they built a fire, 
and when the sun rose in the horizon the entire party of 



434 THE NAMELESS CHOCTAW. 

Choctaws had been smothered to death by the cunning of their 
enemies. 

The Choctaw spy who had journeyed towards the east, had 
witnessed the surprise and unhappy fate of his brother warriors, 
and, returning to his own country, he called a council and re- 
vealed the sad intelligence. As to the fate of the Nameless 
Choctaw, who had journeyed to the westward, he knew that h^ 
too must have been overtaken and slain. Upon the heart of 
one being this last intelligence fell with a most heavy weight, 
and the promised bride of the Nameless Lover pined in melan- 
choly grief. From the night on which she was made wretched, 
she began to droop, and before the reigning moon had passed 
away she died, and was buried on the identical spot where she 
had parted with her lover. 

But what became of the nameless Choctaw ? It was not true 
that he had been overtaken and slain. He was indeed discovered 
by the Osages, and far over the prairies and across the streams 
was he closely pursued. For many days and througl^ the 
watches of many nights did the race continue, but the Choctaw 
warrior finally made his escape. His course had been exceed- 
ingly winding, and when he came to a pause he was astonished 
to find that the sun rose in the wrong quarter of the heavens. 
Everything appeared to him Wrong and out of order, and the 
truth was he became a bewildered and forlorn man, and every- 
where did he wander. He found himself at the foot of a mighty 
range of mountains, which were covered with grass and unlike 
any that he had ever before seen. 

It so happened, however, at the close of a certain day, that 
he sauntered into a wooded valley, and having built him a rude 
bower and killed a rabbit, he lighted a fire and prepared him- 
self for one quiet meal and a night of repose. Morning 
dawned, and he was still in trouble. Many moons passed away 
and the Choctaw was still desolate and forlorn. It was now 
summer, and he called upon the Great Spirit to make his path- 
way plain; and having hunted the forests for a spotted deer, 
and slain her, on a day when there was no wind he ofiiered a 
sacrifice, and that night supped upon a portion of the animal's 



THE NAMELESS CHOCTAW. 435 

Bweet flesh. His fire burnt brightly, and though somewhat 
forlorn, he found that his heart was at peace. But now he 
hears a footstep ! A moment more, and a snow-white wolf of 
immense size is crouching at his feet, and licking his torn 
moccasins. " Ho.w came you in this strange country T* inquired 
the wolf; and the poor Indian related the story of his unsuc- 

. cessful exploit and subsequent escape. The wolf took pity 
upon the Choctaw and told him that he would conduct him in 
safety to the country of his kindred ; and on the following 
morning did they take their departure. Long, very long was 
the journey, and many and very wild: and turbulent the streams 
which they had to cross. The wolf helped the Choctaw to kill 
game for their mutual sustenance^ and by the time that the 
moon for weeding th)B corn had arrired^ th^ nameless Choctaw 
had entered his native village again. This was on the anni- 
versary of the day he had parted with his betrothed, and he 
was sorely grieved to find his people mourning her untimely 
dea^. Time and fatigue had so changed the returned Choctaw 
that his relatives and friends did not reeogniae him, and he 
chose not to reveal himself. From many a mouth, however, 
did he learn the story of her death, and many a wild song, to 
the astonishment of all his friends, did he sing to the memory 
of the departed, whom he called by the beautiful name of Imma, 
or the idol of warriors. And*on a cloudless night did he wan- 
der to the grave of his beloved, and at a moment when the Great 

, Spirit cast his shadow upon the moon (alluding to an eclipse) 
did he throw himself thereon and die. For three nights there^^ 
after were the inhabitants of the Choctaw village alarmed by 
the continual howling of a wolf, and when it ceased, the pine 
forest, upon the hill where the lovers were resting in peace> 
tbok up the dismal howl or moan, and has continued it to the 
present time* 



THE SPIRIT SACRIFICE. 



It was midsummer, and there was a^ terrible plague in the 
wilderness. Many a Chippewa village on the borders of Lake 
Superior had been depopulated. The only band of the great 
northern nation w]}^ch had thus far escaped, was the one whose 
Hunting grounds lay on the northern shore of the St. Mary's 
River. Their principal village stood upon a gentle promontory 
overlooking the Great Lake, immediately at the ^ head of the 
SauU or Falls, and at this village the chiefs and warriors 0/ the 
tribe were assembled in council. Incantations of every possible 
description had for many days been performed, and yet nightly 
tidings were received, showing that the fatal disease was sweep- 
ing over the land, like the fires of autumn over the prairies. 
The signs in the sky, as well as these tidings, convinced the 
poor Indians that their days wefe numbered. It was now the 
last night of their council, and they were in despair. They 
knew that the plague had been sent upon the earth by the Great 
Spirit, as a punishment for some crime, and they also knew that 
there was but one thing that could possibly appease his anger. 
And what was this ? The sacrifice of the most beautiful girl 
of her tribe. And such was the decree, that she should enter 
her canoe, and throwing away her paddle, cast herself upon 
the waters just above the SauU. 

Morning dawned, and loud and dismal beyond compare, was 
the wail of sorrow which broke upon the silent air. Another 
council was held, and the victim for the sacrifice was selected. 
She was an only child, and her mother was a widow, feeble and 
infirm. They told the maiden of her fate, and she uttered not 



THE SPIRIT SAC&UPICB. 437 

a repining word. The girls and women of the village flocked 
around their long-loved companion, and decked her hair ^nd 
her neck with all the brightest wampum, and the most beautiful 
feathers and shells that could be found in all the tribe. The 
time appointed for the sacrifice was the aunset hour; and as 
the day was rapidly waning, the gloom -which pervaded the 
entire village gradually increased, and it even seemed as if a 
murmuring tone mingled with the roar of the mighty waterfall. 
The day had been one of uncommon splendor, and as the sun 
descended to the horizon, a retinue of gorgeous clouds gathered 
around him, and the gfeat lake, whose waters receded to the 
sky, was covered with a deeper blue than had ever before been 
seen. 

All things were now ready, and the Indian maiden was ready 
for the sacrifice. In silence was she conducted to her canoe, 
and loud was the wail of lamentation. It died away ; and now, 
to the astonishment of all the people, a strange echo came from 
over the waters. What could it mean ? A breathless silence 
ensued, and even the old men listened with fear. And now a 
louder and clearer continuation of the same echo breaks upon 
the air. A speck is seen upon the waters. The sun has dis- 
appeared, and a small canoe is seen rapidly approaching, as if 
from the very spot where the orb touched the waters. The 
song increases ; and as the fairy-like canoe sweeps mysteriously 
over the watery waste, it is now seen to contain a beautiful 
being, resembling a girl, clothed in a snow-white Tobe. •She is 
in a standing attitude, her arms are folded and her eyes are 
fixed upon the heavens. Her soul is absorbed in a song, of 
which this is the burden: 

"I come from the Spirit land, 

To appease the Great Spirit, 

To stay the plague. 

And to save the life of the beautiful Chippewa." 

Onward she came, and her pathway lay directly towards the 
mighty rapids. With utter astonishment did the Indians look 
upon this unheard of spectacle, and while they looked they saw 



438 THE SPIRIT SACRIFICE. 

the canoe and its spirit voyager pass directly into the foam, 
wh^re it was lost to them for ever. And so did the poor 
Indians escape the plague. 

The St. Mary is a beautiful river ; and during the summer 
time its shores are always lined with lilies, large, and of a 
marvelous whiteness; and it is a common belief among the 
Ghippewas, that they owe their origin to the mysterious spirit,* 
from whose mutilated body they sprang. And so endeth the 
Legend of the Spirit Saprifice. 



THE PEACE-MAKER. 



The following story was obtained by the writer, directly from the lips 
of a Seneca Indian, and the hero is said to have beei^the grandfather of 
the celebrated orator Red Jacket. 

Thbre was a time when all the Indian tribes in the world 
were at war with the great Seneca nation, whose hunting-* 
grounds were on the borders of Lake Ontario. So fearful had 
they become of their enemies, that the bravest hunters and 
warriors never left their wigwams without bending their bows, 
and little children were not permitted by their mothers to 
gather berries or hickory nuts in the neighboring woods. The 
head chief of the nation at that time, was Sa-go-you-wat-ha^ 
or Always Awake. He was a good man, and being sorely 
grieved at the unhappiness of his people, he conceived the idea 
of securing a permanent peace. It was true, he said, that his 
father had been a cruel and unpopulai chief, but he did not 
think it right that the generation which followed his father 
should be made miserable for crimes never committed by them. 
And therefore it was that he prayed to the Great Ha-nee to 
tell him, in a dream, what he miyt do to accomplish his end. 
Night came, and in spite of his name, Always Awake fell into 
a deep sleep and had a dream. . 

He was told that in t^e direction whence came the warm 
winds of summer, and distant from his village a journey of one 
moon, there was a very large mountain. On the summit of 
that mountain, as he was told, were living a few people from 
all the nations of the earth, excepting the Senecas. The place 
alluded to was called the Mountain of Refuge^ and it was so 
sacred a place, that its soil had never been wet with human 
blood, and the people who lived there, were the peculiar favor- 
ites of the Great Ha-nee, and were the law-makers of the world. 



440 THE PEACE MAKER. 

The dream also told the Seneca chief, that he could secure a 
permanent peace only hy visiting the sacred mountain ; but as 
the intervening distance was so great, and his trail would be 
only among enemies, the dangers of the expedition would be 
very numerous. By travelling at night, however, and sleep- 
ing in the day time, the task might be accomplished, and he 
was at liberty to try his fortune. 

Always Awake pondered a long time upon this strange vision, 
but finally determined to start upon the appointed expedition. 
Great was the Attigue that he endured, and oftentimes he was 
compelled to satisfy his hunger with the roots and berries of the 
forest. Many a narrow escape did he make from his enemies ; 
but in due time he reached the Mountain of Refuge. He was 
warmly welcomed among the Indians of the mountain, and 
when he told his story and talked of peace, they honored him 
with many a loud shout of applause. A council was held, and 
a decree passed, to the efi*ect that the important question at 
stake should be settled by another council composed of the 
head chiefs of all the Indian nations in the land. The fieetest 
runners were employed to disseminate the news, and at the 
appointed time the council of chiefs was held. They formed 
themselves into a confederacy, and with one exception, the na- 
tions of the wilderness became as one people, and so continued 
until the white man crossed the great waters and taught them 
the vices which have almost consumed them from the face of 
the earth. The only nation that would not join the con- 
federation was the O'sage i^fition, and because of their wicked- 
ness in so doing, they were cursed by the Great H&-nee, and 
have ever since been a by-word and a reproach among their 
fellows. ^ 

And when the Seneca chief returned to his own country, he 
was very happy. His trail through the forests and over moun- 
tains was lined with bonfires, and in every village that he tar- 
ried, he was feasted with the best of game. One moon after he 
returned to his people he died, and was buried on the banks of 
the beautiful lake where he lived ; and ever since that time the 
Great Ha-nee has permitted his people to live upon the land 
inherited from their fathers. 



ORIGIN OF THE DEER. 

A SHAWNEE LEGEND. 



Wa-pit-pa-taska, or the Yellow Sky, was the daughter of a 
Shawnee or Snake hunter. His lodge was not one of the 
handsomest in the Tillage where it stood, but the paths leading 
to it were more beaten than those leading to any other, for the 
daughter of the hunter was a great favorite among the young 
men of her tribe. The exploits of those who sought her hand had 
no charms for her ear, and her tastes were strangely different 
from those common among women. She knew that she had 
not many years to live upon the earth, and her dreams had 
told her she was created for an unheard-of mission. There 
was a mystery about her being, and none could comprehencif 
the meaning of her evening songs. On one condition alone> 
did she avow her willingness to become a wife, and this was,, 
that he who became her husband should never, under any cir- 
cumstances, mention her name. If he did so, a sad calamity 
would befall him, and he would forever thereafter regret his 
thoughtlessness. By this decree was the love of one of her 
admirers greatly enhanced, and before the summer was gone 
the twain were married and dwelt in the same lodge. 

Time flew on and the Yellow Sky sickened and died, and her 
last words were that her husband should never forget her admo- 
nition about breathing her name. The widower was very un- 
happy, and for five summers did he avoid his fellow-men, living 
in solitude, and wandering through the forests alone. The 
voices of autumn were now heard in the land, and the bereaved 

VOL. II. — D* 



442 ORIGIN OF THE DEER. 

husband had, after his many journeyings, returned to the grave 
of his wife, which he found overgrown with briers and* coarse 
weeds. For many moons had he neglected to protect the re- 
mains of his wife, and he now tried to atone for his wickedness 
by plucking up the briers and covering the grave with a soft 
sod. In doing this he was discovered by a stranger Indian, 
who asked him whose grave it was of which he was taking so 
much care ? " It is the grave," said he, " of TTa-jM^j^a-^o^ia;" 
and hardly had the forbidden name (which he thoughtlessly ut- 
tered,) passed from his lips, before he fell to the earth in a spasm 
of great pain. The sun was setting, and his bitter moans 
echoed far through the gloomy woods, even until the darkness 
settled upon the world. 

Morning came, and near the grave of the Yellow Sky a large 
buck was quietly feeding. It was the unhappy husband, whom 
the Great Spirit had thus changed. The trotting^ of a wolf was 
heard in the brake, and the deer pricked up his ears. One mo- 
ment more, and the wolf started after the deer. The race was 
very long and painful, but the deer finally escaped. And thus 
from a man came into existence the beautiful deer, or mu-raUsi; 
and because of the foolishness of this man, in not remembering 
his wife's words, the favorite animal of the Shawnee has ever 
been at the mercy of the wolf. 



JEGEND OP THE WHITE OWL. 



is in the country of the Winnebagoes, or people of the 
ivater, and there was a great scarcity of game. An 
litmter, irhile returning from an nnBUCcessful expedition, 
imset hour, chanced to discover in the top of a tree a 
liite owl. He knew that the flesh of this bird vas not 
e to the taste, but as he thought of his wife and children,, 
1 been without food for several days, he concluded to 
9 bow and kill the bird. Hardly had he come to this 
nation, before he was astonished to hear the owl apeak- 
im in the following strain: "You are a very foolish 
You know it is against the laws of your nation to kill 
my tribe, and why should you do wrong because you 
to be a little hungry? I know that your wife and 
1 are also hungry, but that is not a good reason for 
ig me of life. I too hare a wife and several children, and 
me B in the hollow of an old tree. When I left them a little 
;o, they were quite as hungry as you are, and I am now 
rO obtain for their enjoyment a red squirrel or a young 
1. Unlike you, I have to hunt for my game only at 
nd if you will go away and not injure me, I may have 
r power ^to do you a kindness at some future time." 
[ndian hunter was convinced and be unbent his bow. 
irned to his wigwam, and after he had told his wife what 
ipened to him, she told him she was not sorry, for she 
D particularly Tortunate in gathering berries. And then 
Uan and his family were contented, and game soon 
rda became abundant in the laud. 



444 LEGEND OP THE WHITE OWL. 

Many seasons had passed away, and the powerful nation of 
the Iroquois were making war upon the Winnebagoes. The 
hunter already mentioned had become a successful warrior and 
a chief. He was a mark for his enemies, and the bravest among 
them started upon the war-path for the express purpose of 
effecting his destructiou. They hunted him as they would the 
panther, but he always avoided their arrows. Many days of 
fatigue had he now endured, and, believing that his enemies had 
given up the chase, he stopped, on a certain evening, to rest 
himself and enjoy a repast of roots. After this comfortless 
supper was ended, he wrapped himself in his skins and thought 
that he would lie down and enjoy a little sleep. He did so, 
and the only sounds which broke the stillness of the air were 
caused by the falling of the dew from the leaves and the whist- 
ling of .the whippoorwilL It was now past midnight, and the 
Winnebago was yet undisturbed. A whoop is heard in the 
forest so remote from his grassy couch as not to be heard by the 
unconscious sleeper. But what can this shouting mean ? A 
party of the Iroquois warriors have fallen upon the trail of their 
enemy, and are in hot pursuit. But still the Winnebago war- 
rior is in the midst of a pleasant dream. On come his enemies^ 
and his death is inevitable. The shouting of the Iroquois is 
now distinct and clear, but in the twinkling of an eye it is 
swallowed up in a niuch louder and more dismal shriek, which 
startled the Winnebago to his feet. He is astonished, and won- 
ders whence comes the noise. He looks upwards, and lo! 
perched upon one of the b];^.nches of the tree under which he 
had been resting, the form of a large white owl. It rolls its 
large yellow eyes upon him, and tells him that an enemy is on 
his trail, and that he must flee for his life. And this is the 
way in which the white owl manifested its gratitude to the 
Winnebago hunter for his kindness in sparing its own life many 
years before. And since that time the owl has ever been con- 
sidered a very good and a wise bird, and when it perches above 
the wigwam of the red man it is always Safe from harm. 



ITH OP THE GIANT CANNIBAL. 



lowing atoTj was obUJned from the lipa of a Chippewa warrior 
iw-^n-nufi, or Setting-ahead. He told it with as serious an ur 
id been a matter of actual and importaDt historj, Bjid was evi- 
ina believer in the wonders therein contained, 

idian village stood npon the borders of tlie Lake of the 
It was a smnmer day, and a heavy rain storm had 
ver the country, when a large GHant or Cannibal sud- 
ade his appearance in the village. He was as tall aa 
St hemlock, and carried a club in his hand which was 
ban the longest canoe. He told the Indians that he 
e from a far country in the North ; that he waa tired 
gry; and that all the wild rice and game in the village 
immediately brought to his feet that he might satisfy 
tite. His orders were obeyed, and when the food waa 
and the inhabitants of the village were collected 
to see him enjoy his feast, the Giant told them he was 
jatisfied; whereupon, with .one blow of his huge club, 
oyed, with one exception, all the people who had treated 
dndly. The only person who escaped the dreadful 
a a little boy, who happened to be sick in one of the 

8. 

the Giant had committed his cruel deed, he devoured 
■T of the dead bodies, and during the night disappeared 
discovering the boy. Id a few days the boy was well 
to move about, and as he went from one wigwam to 

he thought of his friends who bad been so suddenly 
nd was very unhappy. For many seasons did he live 



446 DEATH OF THE GIANT CANNIBAL. 

alone. Wliile very young his food consisted of such birds as 
the partridge, but as he grew up to the estate of manhood, he 
became a successful hunter, and often feasted upon the deer 
and the buflFalo. He became a strong man, but was very lonely, 
and every time he thought of the Giant who had destroyed his 
relatives and friends he thirsted for revenge. 

Time passed on, and the Chippewa hunter became uneasy 
and discontented. He fasted for many days, and called upon 
the Great Spirit to give him power to discover and destroy the 
Giant who had done him so much harm. The Great Spirit took 
pity upon him, heard his prayer, and sent to his assistance a 
troop of a hundred men, from whose backs grew the most 
beautiful of wings. They told the hunter that they knew all 
about the Giant, and would help him to take his life. They 
said that the Giant was very fond of the meat of the white 
bear, and that if the hunter would give a bear feast they were 
certain that the Giant would make his appearance and ask for 
a portion of the choice food. The time for giving the feast 
was appointed, and it was to take place in a large natural wig- 
wam, formed by the locked branches of many trees ; whereupon 
the strange people disappeared and the hunter started towards 
the north after a bear. 

The hunter was successful ; the appointed time arrived, the 
feast was ready, and the strange people were on the ground. 
The dancing and the singing were all over, and the hot bear 
soup filled the wigwam with a pleasant odor. A heavy tramp 
was heard in the woods, and in a little time the Giant made his 
appearance, attracted to the place by the smell of the soup. 
He came rushing to the wigwam like one who knew not what it 
was to fear ; but when he saw the array of people with wings 
he became very quiet, and asked the hunter if he might parti- 
cipate in the feast. The hunter told him that he might, on 
condition that he would go to the mouth of a certain stream 
that emptied into the lake, and bring therefrom to the wigwam 
a large rock which he would find there. The Giant was angry 
at this request, but as he was afraid of the people with wings 
he dared not disobey. He did as he was bidden, and the thong 



DEATH OF THE GIANT CANNIBAL. 447 

Trhich he used to hold the rock on his bacl^ cut a deep gash in 
his forehead. 

The hunter was not yet satisfied, and he told the Giant that 
before he could be admitted to the feast he must bring to the 
wigwam a gill-net that would reach across the widest stream. 
The Giant departed, and, having obtained a beautiful net from 
a mammoth spider that lived in a cave, he brought it to the 
hunter. The hunter was well pleased, but not yet fully satisfied. 
One more thing did he demand from the Giant before he 
could be admitted to the feast, which was this, that he must 
make his appearance at the feast wearing a robe made of weasel 
skins, witlf the teeth and claws all on. This robe was obtained, 
the Giant was admitted, and the feast proceeded. 

It lasted for several days and nights, and the hunter, the 
strange people, and the Giant danced and caroused together as 
if they had been the best of friends. The Giant was delighted 
with the singing of his entertainers, and while he praised them 
to the skies he did not know that in his bowl of soup the Chip- 
pewa hunter, who had not forgotten the death of his friends, 
had placed a bitter root, which would deprive him of his 
strength. But such ^as, indeed, the case. On the last night 
of the feast the Giant became very tired and stupid, and asked 
permission to enjoy some sleep. Permission was granted, and 
in the centre of the great lodge was spread for his accommoda- 
tion his weasel-skin robe. Upon the stone which he brought 
from the river did he rest his head, and over him was spread 
the net he had obtained from the mammoth spider. He then 
fell into a deep sleep, and the men with wings and the hunter 
continued the revelry. Each man supplied himself with a war 
club, and they performed the dance of revenge. They formed 
a ring around the sleeping Giant, and at a signal made by the 
hunter they all gave him a severe blow, when the spirit-men 
disappeared into the air, and the weasel-skin robe suddenly be- 
came alive. The little animals feasted upon the Giant with 
evident satisfaction, and by morning there was nothing left of 
him but his bones. These did the hunter gather into a heap, 
and having burnt them to ashes, he threw them into the air, 




■I 
I 



448 DEATH OF TH£ GIANT CANNIBAL. 



and immediately there came into existence all the beautiful 
birds which now fill the world. And in this manner was the 
great Giant of the Ghippewas destroyed, and instead of his liv- 
ing to feast upon the flesh of man, his own body, by the wis- 
dom of the Great Spirit, was turned into the birds, which are 
the animal food of man. 



\ 

s 



THE CHIPPEWA MAGICIAN. 



This legend, with at least a score of variations, was related 
to me by a Chippewa hunter named Ka-zhe-osh, or the Fleet 
Flyer. It is excessively romantic, but will most certainly enlist 
the sympathies of the ladies. 

Near the head of the Mississippi is Sandy Lake. In the 
centre of this lake there is an island, and on this island, in the 
olden times, stood a Chippewa village. The chief of this vil- 
lage had a daughter, and that daughter had a lover, who was 
the greatest warrior of his tribe, and a magician. He had the 
power of turning himself into any kind of animal he pleased, 
and for this reason he was looked upon with suspicion by the 
females of his acquaintance. He lived in a secluded lodge on 
the outskirts of the village, and none ever disturbed him in his 
seclusion without express permission ; and a greater number of 
scalps hung from the poles of his lodge than from those of any 
other in the tribe. The chief's daughter admired him for his 
noble bearing and his exploits, but she could not reconcile her- 
self to become his wife. She was afraid of the strange power 
that he possessed, but she loved her father, and had promised 
him that she would never disobey his commands in regard to 
choosing her husband, though she trusted that the magician 
would never be mentioned in that connection. 

In view of this state of things the magician made interest 
with the entire brotherhood of warriors and hunters, and pro- 
claimed his intention of leading th^m upon the war-path to a 
distant country. He was unhappy, and hoped to find peace of 
mind by wandering into strange lands. At an appointed time 



/ 
I 



450 THE CHIPPEWA MAGICIAN. 

the party assembled upon a neighboring plain, and they went 
through the ceremonies of the war-dance. They also shouted 
a loud war song, with the following burden : — 

" We love the whoop of our enemies ; 
We are going to war, 
We are going to war, on the other side of the world." 

On witnessing these preparations, the chief of the village 
became troubled. He well knew that if the old men and the 
women and children under his charge should be abandoned by 
the fighting men and hunters of the tribe, they would be visited 
by much suffering, and he determined to avoid the calamity. 
But how could this be done ? He thought of only one method, 
which was to give the magician his daughter. He told the 
daughter, and she promised to obey. He made the proposition 
to the magician, and it was accepted. It was on certain condi- 
tions, however, and these were as follows : — 

The magician was first to capture the largest white-fish in the 
lake, then kill a white deer, and finally win a foot-race of fif- 
teen miles against the swiftest runner in the tribe. All these 
things the magician promised to do, and he did them all. He 
turned himself into an otter, and by the assistance of the chief 
of the otters secured the largest fish that had ever been seen, 
and appearing in his own form again, deposited it in the lodge 
of the chief. He also turned himself into a black wolf, and 
having ranged the forest for a white deer he caught it, and 
again resuming his natural form carried it to the lodge where 
lived his betrothed. In running the race that had been proposed 
he had one hundred competitors, and at the end of the fifteen miles 
was j-tationed the chief's daughter, with a belt of wampum in 
her hand to crown the victor. The magician started upon the 
race in the form of a man, but before he had run a mile he 
turned himself into a hawk, and swooping to the side of the 
maiden, demanded that she should now become an inmate of 
his lodge. She consented, and the chief gave her to the magi- 
cian. Before, he took her away he called together the men of 
his tribe who had competed with him for the prize, and compli- 



\ 
\ 



\ 



■^■""■^^^pffF 



THE CHIPPBWA MAGICIAS. 451 

ted th«in for their great aotivit; in nmning the race, and 
oled vith them in their disappointment. He then told the 
!' that he did not thank him for what he had done, and turn- 
io the daughter he said that as she had cost him so much 
ble, she must enter his camp and do all his work for him, 
to the end of her days. And ever since that time has it 
the lot of all Indian women to act as the servants of their 
«nds. 



THE LOVER STAR. 



I obtained the following le^^end from the lips of an Indian trader, whom 
I met at the island of La Pointe, in Lake Superior. He said it was re- 
lated to him by a hunter of the Chippewyan nation, and that he had 
heard a similar story among the Chippewas. 

There was once a quarrel among the stars, when one of 
them was driven away from its home in the" heavens and de- 
scended to the earth. It wandered from one tribe of Indians 
to another, and had been seen hovering over the camp-fires of 
a thousand Indians, when they were preparing themselves for 
sleep. It always attracted attention and inspired wonder and 
admiration. It often lighted upon the heads of little children, 
as if for the purpose of playing with them, but thdy were in- 
variably frightened and drove it away by their loud crying. 
Among all the people in the world, only one could be foimd 
who was not afraid of this beautiful star ; and this was a little 
girl, the daughter of a Chippewyan warrior. She was not 
afraid of the star, but rather than this, she loved it with her 
whole heart, and was very happy in her love. That she was 
loved by the star in return there could be no doubt, for wher- 
ever she traveled with her father through the wilderness there, 
as the night came on did the star follow, but it was never seen 
in the day time. When the girl awoke at night, the star floated 
just above her head ; and, when she was asleep, it was so con- 
stant in its watchfulness, that she never opened her eyes, even 
at midnight, without beholding its brilliant light. People won- 
dered at this strange condition of things, but how much more 
did they wonder, when they found that the father of the girl 



THE LOVER STAR. 453 

never returned from the hunt without an abundance of game. 
They therefore concluded that the star must be the son of the 
Good Spirit, and they ever after spoke of it with veneration. 

Time passed on, and it was midsummer. The Indian girl 
had gone into the woods for the purpose of gathering berries. 
Those of the wintergrcen were nearly all eaten up by the 
pigeons and the deer, and, as the cranberries were beginning 
to ripen, she wandered into a large marSh with a view of filling 
her willow basket with them. She did so, and in the tangled 
thickets of the swamp she lost her way. She became fright- 
ened and cried aloud for her father to come to hei« assistance. 
The only creatures that answered her cries were the frogs and 
the lonely bittern. The night was rapidly coming, and the 
farther she wandered the more intricate became her path. At 
one time she was compelled to wade into the water even to her 
knees, and then again would she fall into a deep hole and al- 
most become drowned among the poisonous slime and weeds. 
Night came, and the poor girl looked up at the sky, hoping 
that she might see the star that she loved. A storm had arisen, 
and the rain fell so rapidly that a star could not live in it, and 
therefore was there none to be seen. The storm continued, the 
waters of the country rose, and in rushing into the deeper lakes, 
^ they destroyed the Indian girl, and washed her body away so 
that it never could be found. 

Many seasons passed away and the star continued to be seen 
above the watch-fires of the Chippewyans ; but it would never 
remain long in one place, and its light appeared to have be- 
come dimmed. It ever seemed to be looking for something that 
it could not find, and people knew that it wias unhappy on ac- 
count of the untimely death of -the girl it had loved. Addi- 
tional years passed on, and with the leaves of autumn, it finally 
disappeared. A cold and long winter soon followed, and then 
the hottest summer that had ever been known. During this 
season it so happened that a hunter chanced at night to follow 
a bear into one of the largest swamps of the land, when to his 
astonishment he discovered a small light hanging over the wa- 
ter. It was so beautiful that he followed it for a long distance, 



1 4 THE LOVER STAR. 

but it led into such dangerous places that he gave up the pur- 
suit, and returned to telt his people what he had seen. And 
then it was that the oldest men of the tribe told him that the 
light he had seen was the star that had been driven from heaven, 
and that it was now wandering over the earth for the purpose 
of finding the beautiful girl it had loved. And that same star 
is still upon the earth, and is often seen by the hunters as they 
journey at night through the wilderness. 



ORIGIN OF THE POTTOWATOMIl 



A.ccoBDiHa to the belief of the Pottowatomiee, tbt 
ed on the western ehore of Lake Michigan two grea 
eir names were Kit-che-mo^ne-to, or the Good Sp 
it-cke-mo-me-to, the Evil Spirit. They were equall; 
, but the creation of the world was attributed to the 
lien he had piled up the mountains, and filled thi 
:h running streams, he proceeded to people the wc 
ing creatures, and allotted to each variety its 
lere. He then endeavored to create a being that si 
able himself, but in this attempt he did not saccee 
imal that he made looked and acted more like a w 
Y other creature. Disappointed at this failure the G 
became angry, and seizing the strange creature he h 
threw it into a great lake, and it was drowned. 
>ae, and the waters of the lake made a terrible noise 
it upon its rocky shores. Among the shells and 
abed upon the sands were the bones of tbc strange 
it the Good Spirit had made, and when the storm hai 
! bones were turned into a being who bore a strong 
the present race of Pottowatomies, and that being 
it woman. So well pleased with this creation was i 
irit that he made five other beings resembling her 
t only more rugged, who were to help her in all her 
nts ; and these were the first men. One of them wa 
sa-me, or Smoking Weed ; another Wa-pa-ho, or Pi 
other Esh-hot-Bim-in^ or the Melon ; another Ko-kee. 
an ; and the other Mon-ta-min, or Yellow Maize. 



456 ORIGIN OF THE POTTOWATOMIBS. 

siness of these several beings "was to protect and gather the va- 
rious productions of the earth after which they were named, 
and in doing this they continued to be employed from the time 
that the acorn fell to the ground until it became one of the 
largest trees of the forest. 

The world had now become very beautiful, and the fewr men 
who had the care of it very proud. They became the friends 
of the Evil Spirit. They quarreled among themselves, and in 
process of time with the woman, whom they had for a long 
time obeyed. They looked upon her as the queen of the world, 
and coveted her power and happiness. They tried to take her 
life, but without success. She became acquainted with the 
wickedness of their hearts, and regretted that she had ever 
been created. So unhappy did she become that she prayed to 
the Good Spirit to take her to the sky ; and when the following 
evening came she was transformed into a star, and ever since 
that time has been the jGrst to take her station in the horizon 
after the sun has disappeared behind the distant hills. And it 
is thought that so long as this star remains unchanged no mis- 
fortune can happen to the world. 

When the five young men found themselves alone they were 
sorry for the unkind feelings they had manifested towards the 
woman, and were constantly missing the brightness of her 
smiles and the music of her voice, which they now remembered 
with mingled feelings of pleasure and pain. They were in 
great tribulation, and expected to perish from the face of the 
earth for their wickedness. They called upon the Evil Spirit 
for comfort and power, but he heard them not ; he had aban- 
doned them to their fate. They then thought that they would 
implore the assistance of the Good Spirit. They did so, and 
told him that they only wanted each the companionship of a 
woman, like the one that had been taken away. Their prayer 
was answered, and thus did they become the husbands of affec-. 
tionate wives, from whom are descended the nation of Potto* 
watomies, or the people who make their own fires. 



ORIGIN OF THE CHOCTAWS. 



The sea alluded to in this legend is supposed to be the Chdf of Mexico, and 
the mighty river the Mississippi, So said the educated Choctaw Pitchlyn, 
from whom it was obtained. The idea that the Ghoctaws were the origi- 
nal mound builders, will strike the reader as something new. 

According to the traditioiis of the Choctaws, the first of 
their race came from the bosom of a magnificent sea. Even 
when they first made their appearance upon the earth they 
were so numerous as to cover the sloping and sandy shore of 
the ocean, far as the eye could reach, and for a long time did 
they follow the margin of the sea before they could find a place 
suited to their wants. The name of their principal chief has 
long since been forgotten, but it is well remembered that he 
was a. prophet of great age and wisdom. For many moons did 
they travel without fatigue, and all the time were their bodies 
strengthened by pleasant breezes, and their hearts, on the other 
hand gladdened by the luxuriance of a perpetual summer. In 
process of time, however, the multitude was visited by sickness, 
and one after another were left upon the shore the dead bodies 
of old women and little children. The heart of the Prophet 
became troubled, and, planting a long staff that he carried in 
his hand, and which was endowed with the miraculous power of 
an oracle, he told his people that from the spot designated they 
must turn their faces towards the unknown wilderness. But 
before entering upon this portion of their journey he specified 
a certain day for starting, and told them that they were at 
liberty, in the meantime, to enjoy themselves by feasting and 
dancing, and performing their national rights. 

VOL. IL — ^B* 



458 THE ORIGIN OF THE CHOCTAWS. 

It was now early morning, and the hour appointed for start- 
ing. Heavy clouds and flying mists rested upon the sea, but 
the beautiful waves melted upon the shore as joyfully as ever 
before. The staff which the Prophet had planted was found 
leaning towards the north, and in that direction did the multitude 
take up their line of march. Their journey lay across streams, 
over hills and mountains, through tangled forests, and over 
immense prairies. They were now in an entirely strange coun- 
try, and as they trusted in their magic staff they planted it 
every night with the utmost care, and arose in the morning 
with great eagerness to ascertain the direction towards which 
it leaned. And thus had they traveled for many days when 
they found themselves upon the margin of an O-kee-na-chiUOy 
or great highway of water. Here did they pitch their tents,* 
and having planted the staff, retired to repose. When morning 
ing came the oracle told them that they must cross the mighty 
river before them. They built themselves a thousand rafts, 
and reached the opposite shor^ in safety. They now found 
themselves in a country of surpassing loveliness, where the 
trees were so high as almost to touch the clouds, and where 
game of every variety and the sweetest of fruits were found in 
the greatest abundance. The flowers of this land were more 
brilliant than any they had ever before seen, and so large as 
often to shield them from the sunlight of noon. With the cli- 
mate of the land they were delighted, and .the air they breathed 
seemed to fill their bodies with a new vigor. So pleased were 
they with all that they saw that they built mounds in all the 
more beautiful valleys they passed through, so that the Master 
of Life might know that they were not an ungrateful people. 
In this new country did they conclude to remain, and here 
did they establish their national government with its benign 
laws. 

Time passed on, and the Choctaw nation became so powerful 
that its hunting grounds extended even to the sky. Troubles 
now arose among the younger warriors and hunters of the na- 
tion, until it came to pass that they abandoned the cabins of 
their forefathers, and settled in distant regions of the earth. 



THB OBIOIN OS THB CHOCTAWS. 459 

from the yery body of the Choctaw nation have sprang 
other nations which are itnown as the Ghickasaws, the 
tees, the Creeks or Muskogees, the Shavnees and the 
ires. And in process of time the Choctaws founded 
t city, wherein their more aged men might spend their 
n peace ; and, because they loved those of their people 
id long before departed into distant regions, they called 
ty Yazoo, the meaning of which is, home of tJie people 
■e gone. 



THE DANCING GHOSTS. 



That beautiful phenomenon known to the white man as the 
Aurora Borefilis, or Northern Lights, is called by the Chippewa 
Indians Je-bi-ne-me-id-de-wandy or the Dancing Ghosts. The 
legends accounting for it are numerous, and the following, which 
was related to the translator by a Chippewa hunter, named 
KeheB'ChocTcy or Precipice Leaper, is quite as fantastic as the 
phenomenon itself. That it is a very ancient tradition is evi- 
dent from the fact that the sacrifice to which it alludes has not 
been practised by the Chippewas for at least a century. 

There was a time when all the inhabitants of the far North 
were afflicted by a famine. It was in the depth of winter, and 
the weather had for a long time been so cold that even the 
white bear was afraid to leave his hiding place. The prairies 
were so deeply covered with snow that the deer and the buffalo 
were compelled to wander to a warmer climate, and the lakes 
and rivers were so closely packed with ice that it was only once 
in a while that even a fish could be obtained. Such sorrow as 
reigned throughout the land had never before been known. 
The magicians and wise men kept themselves hidden in their 
cabins. The warriors and hunters, instead of boasting of their 
exploits, crowded around their camp-fires, and in silence medi- 
tated upon their unhappy doom. Mothers abandoned their 
children to seek for berries in the desolate forests, and the fin- 
gers of the young wolnen had become stiff from idleness, for 
they had not any skins out of which to make the comfortable 
moccasin. From one end of the Chippewa country to the other 
was heard the cry of hunger and distress. That the Great 
Spirit was angry with his people was universally believed, but 



THE DANCING GHOSTS. 461 

for what reason none of the magicianft could telL The chief 
of the Chippewas was the oldest man in the nation, and he was 
consulted in regard to the impending calamity. He could give 
no reason for the famine, hut stated that he had heen informed 
in a dream that the anger of the Great Spirit could be appeas- 
ed by a human sacrifice. How this should come to pass, how- 
ever, he could not tell, and therefore concluded to summon to 
his lodge all the medicine-men who lived within a day's jour- 
ney, for the purpose of consulting with them. He did so, and 
when the council was ended it was proclaimed that three Chip- 
pewas should be immediately bound to the stake and consumed. 
They were to be selected by lot from among the warriors of the 
tribe ; and, when this sad intelligence was promulgated, a na- 
tional assembly was ordered to convene. 

The appointed time arrived, and, in the presenlse of a large 
multitude, the fatal lots were cast, and three of the bravest men 
of the tribe were thus appointed to the sacrifice. They sub- 
mitted to their fate without a murmur. Whilst their friends 
gathered around them with wild lamentations, and decked them 
with the costliest robes and ornaments to be found in all the 
tribe, the youthful warriors uttered not a word about their 
untimely departure, but only spoke in the most poetical lan- 
guage of the happy hunting grounds upon which they were 
about to enter. The spot selected for the sacrifice was the 
summit of a neighboring hill which was covered with woods. 
Upon this spot had three stakes been closely erected, around 
which there had been collected a large pile of dry branches and 
other combustible materials. To the stakes, at the hour of 
midnight, and by the hands of the magicians, unattended by 
spectators, were the three warriors securely fastened. They 
performed their cruel duty in silence, and the only sounds that 
broke the stillness of that winter night were the songs and the 
shoutings of the multitude assembled in the neighboring village. 
The incantations of the priests being ended, they applied a 
torch to the faggots, and, returning to their village, spent the 
remainder of the night in performing a variety of strange and 
heart-sickening ceremonies. 



462 THE DANCINQ GHOSTS. 

Morning dawned, and upon the hill of sacrifice was to be 
seen only a pile of smouldering ashes. On that day the wea- 
ther moderated, and an unusual number of hunters went forth 
in pursuit of game. They were all more successful than they 
had been for many seasons, and there was an abundance of 
sweet game, such as the buffalo, the bear, and the deer in every 
wigwam. A council was called, and the patriarch chief pro- 
claimed the glad tidings that the Great Spirit had accepted their 
sacrifice, and that it was now the duty of his children to express 
their gratitude by a feast — the feast of bitter roots. 

The appointed night arrived, and the bitterest roots which 
could be found in the lodges of the magicians were collected 
together and made into a soup. The company assembled to 
partake of this feast, was the largest that had ever been known, 
and, as they were to conclude their ceremony of thankfulness 
by dancing, they had cleared the snow from the centre of their 
village, and on this spot were they duly congregated. It was 
a cold and remarkably clear night, and their watchfires burnt 
with uncommon brilliancy. It was now the hour of midnight, 
and the bitter soup was all gone. The flutes and the drums 
had just been brought out, and the dancers, decked in' their 
mo8t uncouth dresses, .we about to enter the charmed ring, 
when a series of loud shoutings were heard, and the eyes of the 
entire multitude were intently fixed upon the northern sky, 
which was illuminated by a most brilliant and unearthly light. 
It was a light of many colors, and as changeable as the reflec- 
tions upon a summer sea at the sunset hour. Across this light 
were constantly dancing three huge figures of a crimson hue, 
and the'se did the magicians proclaim to be the ghosts of the 
three warriors who had given up their bodies for the benefit of 
their people, and who had thus become great chiefs in the spirit- 
land. The fire by which their bodies had been consumed had 
also consumed every feeling of revenge ; and ever since that 
remote period it has been their greatest pleasure to illume by 
their appearance on winter nights the pathway of the hunters 
over the snowy plains of the north. 



i 



THE STRANGE WOMAN. 



It was in olden times, and two Choctaw hunters were spend- 
ing the night by their watch-fire in a bend of the river Alabama. 
The game &nd the fish of their country were with every new moon 
becoming less abundant, and all that they had to satisfy their 
hunger on the night in question, was the tough flesh of a black 
hawk. They were very tired, and as they mused upon their 
unfortunate condition, and thought of their hungry children, 
they were very unhappy, and talked despondingly. But they 
roasted the bird before the fire, and proceeded to enjoy as com- 
fortable a meal as they coulJ. Hardly had they commenced 
eating, however, before they were startled by a singular noise, 
resembling the cooing of a dove. They jumped up and looked 
around them to ascertain the cause. In one direction they saw 
nothing but the moon just rising above the forest trees on the 
opposite side of the river. They looked up and down the river, 
but could see nothing but the sandy shores and the dark waters. 
They listened, and nothing could they hear but the murmur of 
the flowing stream. They turned their eyes in that direction 
opposite the moon, and to their astonishment, they discovered 
standing upon the summit of a grassy mound, the form of a 
beautiful woman. They hastened to her side, when she told 
them she was very hungry, whereupon they ran after their 
roasted hawk, and gave it all into the hands of the strange 
woman. She barely tasted of the proffered food, but told the 
hunters that their kindness had preserved her from death, and 
that she would not forget them when she returned to the happy 
grounds of her father, who was the Hosh-tal-lij or Great Spirit 



464 THE STRANGE WOMAN. 

of the Choctaws. She had one request to make, and this was, 
that when the next *moon of midsummer should arrive, they 
should visit the spot where she then stood. A pleasant breeze 
swept among the forest leaves, and the strange woman suddenly 
disappeared. 

The hunters were astonished, but they returned to their 
families, and kept all that they had seen and heard, hidden in 
'their hearts. Summer came, and they once more visited the 
mound on the banks of the Alabama. They found it covered 
with a new plant, whose leaves were like the knives of the white 
man. It yielded a delicious food, which has since been known 
among the Choctaws as the sweet toncha or Indian maize. 



THE VAGABOND BACHELOR. 



In the great wilderness of the north, midway between Hud- 
son's Bay and Lake Ontario, lies a beautiful sheet of water 
called St6ne Lake. It is surrounded with hills, which are co- 
vered with a dense forest, and the length thereof is about 
twelve miles. On the shore of this lake there stood, in the 
olden time, an Ottawa village, and the most notorious vagabond 
in said village was an old bachelor. He was a kind-hearted 
rogue, and though he pretended to have a cabin of his own, he 
spent the most of his time lounging about the wigwams of his 
friends, where he was treated with the attention usually be- 
stowed upon the oldest dog of an Indian village. The low 
cunning for which he was distinguished made him the laughing- 
stock of all who knew him,, and his proverbial cowardice had 
won for him the contempt of all the hunters and warriors. 
Whenever a war party was convened for the purpose of pursu- 
ing an enemy, Wis-ka-go-twa, or the White Liver, always hap- 
pened to be in the woods ; but when they returned, singing 
their songs of victory, the vagabond bachelor generally mingled, 
conspicuously with the victors. 

, But, in process of time, Wis-ka-go-twa took it into his head 
to get married, and from that moment began the troubles of hid 
life. As soon as his resolution had become known among the 
young women of the village, they came together in secret coun- 
cil, and unanimously agreed that not one of them would ever 
listen to the expected proposals of the bachelor, for they 
thought him too great a coward to enjoy the pleasures of ma- 
trimony. Tears elapsed, and the vagabond was still in the 
enjoyment of his bachelorhood. 



466 THE VAaABOND BACHELOR. 

In the meanwhile a beautiful maidep, named Muck-o-wiss, or 
the Whippoorwill, had budded into the full maturity of life. She 
was the chief attraction of the village, and the heart of many 
a brave warrior and expert hunter had been humbled beneath 
her influence. Among those who had entered her lodge in the 
quiet night, and whispered the story of his love, was Wis-ka-go- 
twa. She deigned not to reply to his avowals, and he became 
unhappy. He asked the consent of her father to their union, 
and he said that he had no objections provided his daughter was 
willing. It so happened, however, that the maiden was not 
willing, for she was a member of that female confederacy which 
had doomed the vagabond lover to the miseries of single life. 
Time passed on, and he was the victim of a settled melan- 
choly. 

The sunny days of autumn were nearly numbered, and an 
occasional blast from the far north had brought a shudder to 
the breast of Wis-ka-go-twa, for they reminded him of the long 
winter which he was likely to spend in his wigwam alone. He 
pondered upon the gloomy prospect before him, and in his 
frenzy made the desperate resolution that he would, by any 
means in his power, obtain the love of his soft-eyed charmer. 
He consequently began to exert himself in his daily hunts, and 
whenever he obtained an uncommonly fat beaver, or large bear, 
he carefully deposited it before the lodge of Muck-o-wiss, and 
he now mingled, more frequently than ever before, in the va- 
rious games of the village, and was not behind his more youth- 
ful rivals in jumping and playing ball. In a variety of ways 
did he obtain renown, but it was at the expense of efforts which 
nearly deprived him of life. Again did he sue for the smiles 
of. Muck-o-wiss, but she told him he was an old man, and th^t 
he did not wear in his hair a single plume of the eagle, to show 
that he had ever taken a scalp. 

The disappointed vagabond now turned his attention to war. 
It so happened, however, that a permanent peace had been 
established between the Ottawas and the neighboring tribes, so 
that our hero was baffled on this score also. But he had heard 
it reported in the village that a party of Iroquois warriors had 



THE VAQABONI) BACHELOR. 467 

been seen on that side of the Great Lake, and as they were 
heartily hated by his own tribe, he conceived the idea of ab- 
senting himself for a few days, for the purpose of playing a 
deceptive game upon the maiden of his love and the entire 
population of the village where he lived. Having formed this 
determination, he kept it entirely to himself, and on a certain 
morning he launched his canoe upon the lake and disappeared, 
as if going upon a hunting expedition. 

Four or five days had elapsed, and the vagabond bachelor 
was not yet returned. On the afternoon of the sixth day, a 
couple of Indian boys, who had been frolicking away the morn- 
ing in the woods, returned to the village in an uncommonly ex- 
cited mood. They visited almost every wigwam, and related a 
grand discovery which they had made. While chasing a deer 
into a secluded bay, about ten miles down the lake, they an- 
nounced that they had seen Wis-ka-go-twa engaged in a most 
singular employment. They were aware of his peculiar repu- 
tation, and when they saw him in this out-of-the-way place, 
•they watched him in silence from behind a fallen tree. The 
first act which they saw him perform was, to shoot into the side 
of his little canoe some twenty of his flint-headed arrows, which 
mutilated the canoe in a most disgraceful manner. He next 
took some unknown instrument, and inflicted a number of se- 
vere wounds upon his arms and legs. But the deepest incision 
which he made was on his leg, just above the knee, into which 
they were astonished to see him place, with a small stick, a 
kind of white material, which resembled the dry shell of a tur- 
tle. All this being accomplished, they saw the vagabond em- 
bark in his leaky canoe, as if about to return to the village. 
They suspected the game that was being played, so they made 
the shortest cut home and related the foregoing particulars. 

An hour or two passed on, and, as the sun was setting, the 
villagers were attracted by a canoe upon the lake. They watch- 
ed it with peculiar interest, and found that it was steadily ap- 
proaching. Presently it made its appearance within hailing 
distance, when it was discovered to be occupied by the vaga- 
bond b(^helor. Every man, woman, and child immediately 



468 . THE VAGABOND BACHELOB* 

made their appearance on the shore, apparently for the purpose 
of welcoming the returning hunter, but in reality with a view 
of enjoying what they supposed would turn out a good joke. 
The hunter looked upon the crowd with evident satisfaction, 
but he manifested his feelings in a very novel manner, for he 
was momentarily uttering a long-drawn groan, as if suffering 
from a severe wound. As the canoe touched the sand it was 
found to be half full of bloody water, and one of the sides had 
evidently been fired into by the arrows of an enemy. A mur- 
mur ran through the crowd that Wis-ka-go-twa must have had 
a dreadful time, and he was called upon to give the particulars, 
when he did so in a few words. He had hepn overtaken, he 
said, by a party of Iroquois, consisting of some twenty men, 
who attacked him while he was pursuing a bear, and though he 
succeeded in killing four of his rascally pursuers, his canoe had 
been sadly mutilated, and he had received a wound which he 
feared would be the cause of his tleath. In du0 time the 
wound was revealed to the public eye, and the young women 
turned away with a shudder ; and then the vagabond bacheloB 
was conveyed to his, lodge, and the medicine-man sent for to 
administer relief. 

A day or two elapsed, and the poor hunter was evidently in 
a bad way. They asked him what individual in the village he 
would have to attend him. He expressed a preference for the 
father of Muck-o-wiss, who came and faithfully attended to his 
duties as a nurse ; but the sick was not yet satisfied. ^' Whom 
will you have now?" asked the old man, and the name of 
Muck-o-wiss trembled on the lips of the sick lover. His chief 
desire was granted, and for three days did the maiden attend 
to the little wants of her unfortunate lover. Another day and 
he was rapidly mending. He was now so nearly restored that 
the maiden began to talk of returning to her mother's wigwam. 
This intelligence roused the hunter from his bed of furs, and 
he once more avowed his undying attachment to the charming 
maiden. She repulsed him with a frown, and retired from the 
lodge ; so the hunter was again sadly disappointed. The mai* 
den hastened to tell the news to all the women of the village, 



\ 



THE VAGABOND BACHELOR. 469 

and after thej had enjoyed themselves for upwards of an hour, 
Muck-o-wiss returned to the wigwam of her lover, and told 
him that she would become his wife on one condition, which 
was, that on the day he should succeed in killing five bears, oh 
that day would she enter his lodge and make it her permanent 
home. For an Indian to kill five bears on one day was consi- 
dered a remarkable feat, and the roguish Muck-o-wiss thought 
herself secure. 

Days passed on, and the vagabond bachelor was again re- 
stored to sound health and devoting himself to the chase. It 
was just the season when the black bear takes up its annual 
journey for the south, and the hunter had discovered a narrow 
place in the lake, where the animals were in the habit of com- 
ing. It was the last day of autumn, and e^ly in the morning 
he had stationed himself in a good ambush. By the time the 
sun cast a short shadow, he had killed three fine specimens, and 
placed them before the lodge of his intended wife. The middle 
of the afternoon arrived, and he had deposited the fourth ani- 
mal at the same place. The sunset hour was nigh at hand, and 
the hunter had killed and placed in his canoe the fifth and 
largest bear he had ever seen. The happiest hour of the poor 
man's life was now surely nigh at hand. Impatiently did he 
paddle his way home. The villagers saw that the vagabond 
bachelor had been successful, and Mudc-o-wiss and all her fe- 
male companions were filled with consternation. But the truly 
heroic warriors, who had striven in vain to win the love of the 
village beauty, were not only astonished, but indignant, for 
they could not bear the idea of losing, in such a manner, the 
prize which had urged them on in the more noble deeds of war. 
But now has the canoe once more reached the shore. Upon 
his back has the hunter lifted his prize, and up the bank is he 
toiling and staggering along with the immense load, and now has 
he fixed his eye upon the lodge where he is hoping to receive 
his promised bride. His heart flutters with tumultuous joy — 
his knees tremble from fatigue — a strange faintness passes over 
his brain — he reels from his upright position — ^the bear falls to 
the ground — and the vagabond bachelor is — dead. 



ORIGIN OF THE WATER LILT 



Many, many moons ago, an 'old and very celebrated hanter 
of the Pottowattomie nation was at the point of death, in a 
remote forest. He was alone on his bed of leaves, for he had 
been stricken with .the hand of disease while returning from a 
hunting expedition. Among the treasures that he was to leave 
behind him was a beautiful hickory arrow, with which he had 
killed a great number of animals. The head thereof was made 
of a pure white flint, and the feathers which adorned it had 
been plucked from the wings of the scarlet bird. It had been 
the means of saving his life on many occasions, and its virtues 
were so peculiar, that it could pass entire through a buffalo 
without being tinged with the life-blood of the animal. 

The greatest weight which rested upon the mind of the dying 
Indian, arose from the idea that he could not bequeath his arrow 
to hie oldest son. He was alone in the wilderness, and it made 
him very unhappy to think that the treasure of his family might 
yet become the property of an enemy, who would be likely to 
cross his trail after the ravens or wolves had eaten his flesh. 
But this was a thought that he could not possibly endure, and 
as the pall of night settled upon the world, he fixed his eyes 
upon the northern star, which had guided him through many 
dangers, and prayed to the Master of Life that he would take 
his arrow and carry it safely to the smiling planet. A moment 
more and the unknown hunter buried his head among the dry 
leaves, and — died. 

On the following night, a terrible gale of wind swept over 
the land, which took the arrow from the ground and hurled it 



OBIOIH OF THE WATEB LILT. 471 

ho Upper air. A etrange silence immediatejy followed, 
the northern star was seen to tremble in the ekj : another 
period elapsed, and there was a deafening noise heard in 
rmament, when the evening star left its own quiet home, 
3II upon the northern star for the purpose of winning, by 
combat, the arrow of the great hunter. The conflict 
desperate one, and as the two stars fought for the earthly 
sparks of white light shot from their sides, and in un- 
ered particles fell upon the country now known as Michi- 
A long rain etorm soon followed, by which the particles 
ht were taken to the river, And by a decree of the Master 
e, were changed into the beautiful white lilies which adorn 
imerons streams of the western country. 



THE FAITHFUL COUSINS. 



I NOW speak of two Chippewa hunters, who lived among the 
Porcupine mountains, near Lake' Superior. They were the oldest 
sons of two brothers, and noted in their village for the warm 
friendship existing between them, and for their prowess in hunt- 
ing. They were very famous throughout the land, and into 
whatever village they happened to enter, the old men asked them 
to remain and marry their handsome women, but the hunters 
laughed at all such proposals, for they had pledged their words 
to each other that they would ever remain single and free. 

It was when the leaves were fading, that the young cousins 
heard of a great hunt which was to take place in a distant vil- 
lage. It was got up by an old warrior, who was the father of 
a beautiful daughter, and he had determined that the most suc- 
cessful hunter should become his son-in-law. This intelligence 
had been conveyed to the cousins in a secret manner, and on 
departing from their own village, they spoke not a word of 
their determination. In due time the hunt took place, and an 
immense quantity of game was taken. Some of the hunters 
brought home two bears, some three and four deer, but the two 
cousins captured each five bears. As no one man had eclipsed 
his fellows, it was resolved by the warrior that the man who 
should bring to his lodge the scalps of ten bears, should be the 
successful candidate for the hand of his daughter. Another 
hunt took place, and each of the cousins brought in, not only 
the scalps of ten full-grown bears, but also a large quantity of 
choice meats, which they deposited at the tent-door of the 
chief. The difficulty of making a selection was now even 



THE FAITHFUL COUSINS. 478 

greater than before, but the truth was, the young friends had 
no desire to marry the beautiful girl, but were only anxious to 
manifest their bravery, or rather wonderful expertness in kill- 
ing wild animals. Their singular conduct astonished every- 
body, but mostly the venerable warrior and his favorite 
daughter. 

The important question must be decided, however, and the 
old man resorted to a number of expedients to decide upon a fu- 
ture son-in-law. The first was that the two cousins should enter 
upon a wrestling match — they did so, and the twain fell to the 
ground at the same moment. The next was that they should try 
their agility in leaping over a suspended stick, but in this trial 
they also came out exactly even. The third was, that they should 
shoot their arrows at a pair of humming birds, and the maker 
of the best shot to be the lady's husband ; the arrows were 
thrown, and the right wing of each bird broken. The fourth 
expedient was that they should go upon a squirrel hunt — they 
did so, and each one returned with just exactly one hundred of 
those sprightly creatures. It now came to pass, and was whis- 
pered about the village, that one of the cousins had really be- 
come interested in the girl who was the innocent cause of so 
much contention, and when her father found this out, he re- 
solved to make one more experiment. He therefore commanded 
the young men to kill each a specimen of the he necoh or war- 
eagle, and the one who should present her with the greatest 
number of perfectly formed feathers, would be welcomed as a 
relative. The trial was made and the whole number of feathers 
obtained was twenty-one, the odd feather having been gained 
by the enamored cousin. The girl was of course awarded to 
him in due time, but what was the surprise of all the villagers, 
when it was proclaimed that he would not receive the prize unless 
the young men of the tribe should first build him a handsome 
lodge and furnish it with the choicest of meats and skins. At 
this suggestion the young men were greatly enraged, but they 
concluded, in consideration of their admiration of the Indian 
girl, to change their minds, and forthwith proceeded to erect 
the new lodge. 

VOL. II. — ^F* 



474 THE FAITHFUL COUSINS. 

• 

In the meauwhile, it was ascertained that the unlucky cousin 
had become somewhat offended at his companion, whereupon 
the accepted lover joined the other in a bear hunt for the pur- 
pose of effecting a reconciliation. It so happened, however, 
that the existing coldness between them could not be removed, 
and while the twain were toiling up a remote hill with the view 
of encamping for the night, the disappointed cousin was sud- 
denly transformed into a large fire-fly, and having ascended 
into the air, immediately experienced another change, and be- 
came what is known as the Northern Star. The remaining 
cousin felt himself severely punished by this abandonment for 
having broken his vow, and therefore became an exile from his 
native land and led a comfortless and solitary life ; while the 
maiden whom he was to wed, it is said, is still waiting patiently, 
but in vain, for the return of her long lost lover. 



THE OSAGE DAMSEL. 



There once lived in the Osage conntry an Indian whose 
name was Koo-zAe-ge-ne-cahy or The Distant Man. He had 
been a famous warrior and hunter, but time had weakened his 
arm and lifted a mist before his eye. His wives were all dead, 
and the only one of his kindred left upon earth to minister to 
his wants was a little damsel, his grandchild, and the joy of his 
old age. The twain were much beloved by all their tribe, and 
when journeying across the broad prairies they were always 
supplied with the gentlest horses, and they never had to ask 
the second time for their favorite food. Whenever the tribe 
came to a halt on the bank of a river, in a country abounding 
in game, the first tent-poles planted in the ground were those 
belonging to the Distant Man and his child, and their tent 
always stood next to that of the chief. 

It was midsummer, and the entire Osage nation was en- 
camped upon a plain at the foot of a mountain, covered to the 
very summit with rich grass and brilliant flowers. The last , 
hunts had been successful, and in every lodge was to be found 
an abundance of buffalo and deer meat. Feasting and merry- 
making, dancing and playing ball, were the chief .employments 
of the hour throughout the entire village, while in every direc- 
tion upon the prairies the horses, with their feet hobbled, were 
cropping their sweet food. The children and the dogs sported 
upon the green together, and many a laugh resounded long 
and loud. The sun was near his setting, when suddenly an un- 
usual stillness pervaded the air. The people gathered together 
in haste and wondered what it could all mean. The strange 
silence caused them to listen with increased attention, when a 
distant whoop came stealing along the air. It seemed to come 
from the neighboring mountain, and as the multitude cast their 
eyes in that direction, they saw a single horseman coming to • 



476 THE OSAGE DAMSEL. 

wards their encampment with the speed of the wind. They 
waited in breathless expectation, and were astonished at the 
boldness of the stranger in riding with such fury directly into 
their midst. 

He was mounted upon a black horse of gigantic size, with 
splendidly flowing mane and tail, and an eye of intense bril- 
liancy, and was caparisoned in a most gorgeous manner. The 
stranger was clad from head to foot in a dress of many co- 
lors, and from his hair hung a great variety of the most cu- 
rious plumes. He carried a lance, and to his side were fastened 
a bow and a quiver of arrows. He was in the prime of life, 
and his bearing was that of a warrior chief. He avowed him- 
self the son of the Master of Life, and his home to be in the 
Spirit Land. He said that there was a woman in that land 
who had told him that the most beautiful maiden in the Osage 
nation was her daughter. From other lips also had he heard 
that she was good as well as beautiful, and that her only pro- 
tector and friend was an old man named Koo-ze-ghe-ne-cah. 
He had asked for a dream that he might see this being of the 
earth. Having seen her, and being in want of a wife, he was 
now come to demand her of her venerable parent, and forth- 
with rode to the door of his tent to make a bargain. The 
stranger dismounted not from his horse, Wt talked with the 
old man leaning upon the neck of his noble animal, the maiden 
meanwhile sitting in pensive quietness within her tent-door, 
working a pair of moccasins. The old man doubted the 
stranger's words, and desired him to prove that he was the son 
of the Master of Life. " What sign of my nature and power 
would you witness?" inquired the stranger. " That you would 
cover the heavens with thick darkness, picture it with light- 
ning, and fill the air with loud thunder," replied the old man, 
" Do this, and my daughter shall be your bride." Suddenly a 
storm arose, and the sign was fulfilled to the utmost extent, so 
that the entire nation were stricken with fear. Night came on, 
the sky was without a cloud, but spangled with stars, and the 
air was perfectly serene, and when the stranger and his steed 
were sought for, it was found that they had disappeared. 
Peace rested upon the Osage village, and the oldest men of 



/ 



\ 



/ 



THE OSAGE DAMSEL. 477 

that tribe never enjoyed a more refreshing sleep than on that 
memorable night. 

On the following day everything about the Osage encamp- 
ment wore its ordinary aspect, and the events of the previous 
day were talked over as people talk of their dreams. The old 
man and the maiden made an offering to the Master of Life, 
and while the former, before the assembled nation, promised to 
give up his child, she, in her turn, expressed her entire willing- 
ness to become the bride of the stranger, should he ever return. 
Not only was she prompted to do this by the honor conferred 
upon her, and also by the* nobleness of the stranger, but she 
thought it would make her so happy to rejoin her long departed 
mother in the Spirit Land. She was only troubled about the 
feeble old man, whom she dearly loved ; but when the whole 
nation promised, as with one voice, to make him the object of 
their peculiar care, she was satisfied. 

Again was the sun in the western horizon. Again did the 
stranger appear mounted as before. But as he entered the 
village, there trotted by his side a white horse of exceeding 
beauty, decked from forelock to tail with the richest and rarest 
of ornaments. He had come for his bride, and was impatient 
to be gone. He led the white horse to the tent of the girl he 
loved, and throwing at her feet a dress of scarlet feathers, he 
motioned her to prepare for a long journey. When she was 
ready, he motioned to the white horse to fall upon his knees, 
and the maiden leaped upon his back. The twain then walked 
their horses to the outskirts of the village, and as they passed 
along, the stranger took from his quiver and tossed into the 
hands of the Osage chief and each of his warriors and hunters, 
a charmed arrow, which, he said, would enable them not only 
to subdue their enemies, but also supply them with an abun- 
dance of game, as long as they roamed the prairies. The 
stranger now gave a whoop and the horses started upon the run. 
Their path lay over the mountain, where the stranger had been 
first seen. They flew more swiftly than the evening breeze, 
and just as the sun disappeared, they reached the summit of 
the mountain and also disappeared, as if received into the bosom 
of a golden cloud* 



THE SPECTRE AND HUNTER. 



The following legend was originally translated into English by an edu- 
cated Choctaw, named /. L, McDonaldj and subsequently embodied in a 
private letter to another Choctaw, named Peter P. FUcJdyn. The former 
of these very worthy Indian gentlemen has long been dead, and it is 
therefore with very great pleasure that I avail myself of the opportunity, 
kindly afforded mo by the latter gentleman, of associating the legendary 
relic with my own. I have ventured, by the permission and advice of 
Mr. Pitchlyn, to alter an occasional expression in the text, but have not 
trespassed upon the spirit of tbe story. 

Ko-WAT-HOOM-MAH, or the Red Panther, once started out on 
a hunting expedition. He had an excellent bow, and carried 
with him some jerked venison. His only companion was a large 
white dog, which attended him in all his rambles. This dog 
was a cherished favorite, and shared in all his master's priva- 
tions and successes. He was the social companion of the hunter 
by day, and his watchful guardian by night. 

The hunter had travelled far, and as the evening approached, 
he encamped upon a spot that bore every indication of an 
excellent hunting-ground. Deer-tracks were seen in abundance, 
and turkeys were heard clucking in various directions, as they 
retired to their roosting places. Ko-way-hoom-mah kindled a 
fire, and having shared a portion of his provision with his dog, 
he spread his deer-skin and his blanket by the crackling fire, 
and mused on the adventures of the day already past, and on 
the probable success of the ensuing one. It was a bright star- 
light night ; the air was calm, and a slight frost which was 
falling, rendered the fire comfortable and cheering. His dog 
lay crouched and slumbering at his feet, and from his stifled 
cries, seemed dreaming of the chase. Everything tended to 
soothe the feelings of our hunter, and to prolong that pleasant 
train of associations, which the beauty of the night and the 
anticipations of the morrow were calculated to inspire. At 



THB SPECTRE AND HUNTER. 479 

length, when his musings were assuming that indefinite and 
dreamy state which precedes a sound slumber, he was startled 
by a distant cry, which thrilled on his ear, and roused him into 
instant watchfulness. He listened with breathless attention, 
and in a few minutes again heard the cry, keen, long, and 
piercing. The dog gave a plaintive and ominous howl. Ko- 
way-hoom-mah felt uneasy. Can it be a lost hunter ? was the 
inquiry which suggested itself. Surely not, for a true hunter 
feels lost nowhere. What then can it be ? With these reflec- 
tions our hunter stepped forth, gathered more fuel, and again 
replenished his fire. Again came a cry, keen, long, and pain- 
fully thrilling, as before. The voice was evidently approaching, 
and again the dog raised a low and mournful howl. Ko-way- 
hoom-mah then felt the blood curdling near his heart, and folding 
his blanket around him, he seated himself by the fire and fixed 
his eyes intently in the direction from which he expected the 
approach of his startUng visitor. In a few moments he heard 
the approach of his footsteps. In another minute a ghastly 
shape made its appearance, and advanced towards the fire. It 
seemed to be the figure of a hunter, like himself. Its form was 
tall and gaunt, its features livid and unearthly. A tattered 
robe was girdfed round his waist, and covered his shoulders, and 
he bore an unstrung bow and a few broken arrows. 

The spectre advanced to the fire, and seemed to shiver with 
cold. He stretched forth one hand, then the other to the fire, 
and as he did so, he fixed his hollow and ghastly eye on Ko- 
way-hoom-mah, and a slight smile lighted up his livid counte- 
nance, but not a word did he utter. Ko-way-hoom-mah felt his 
flesh and hair creep, and the blood freezing in his veins, yet 
with instinctive Indian courtesy he presented his deer-skin as a 
seat for his grim visitor. The spectre waved his hand, and 
shook his head in refusal. He stepped aside, plucked up a 
parcel of briers from an adjacent thicket, spread them by the 
fire, and on his thorny couch he stretched himself and seemed 
to court repose. 

Our hunter was petrified with mingled fear and astonishment. 
His eyes continued long riveted on the strange and ghastly 
being stretched before him, and he was only awakened from his 



480 THE SPECTRE AND HUNTER. 

trance of horror by the voice of his faithful dog. "Arise," 
said the dog, suddenly and supernaturally gifted with speech, 
"Arise, and flee^for your life! The spectre now slumbers: 
should you also slumber, you are lost. Arise and flee while I 
stay and watch!" Ko-way-hoom-mah arose, and stole softly 
from the fire. Having advanced a few hundred paces, he 
stopped to listen ; all was silent, and with a beating heart he 
continued his stealthy and rapid flight. Again he listened, and 
again with renewed confidence, he pursued his rapid course, 
until he had gained several miles on his route homeward. 
Feeling at length a sense of safety, he paused to recover breath, 
on the brow of a lofty hill. The night was calm and serene, 
the stars shone with steady lustre, and as Ko-way-hoom-mah 
gazed upwards, he breathed freely and felt every apprehension 
vanish. Alas ! on the instant, the distant baying of his dog 
struck on his ear; with a thrill of renewed apprehension, he 
bent his car to listen, and the appalling cry of his dog, now 
more distinctly audible, convinced him that the spectre was in 
full pursuit. Again he fled with accelerated speed over hill, 
over plain, through swamps and thickets, till once more he 
paused by the side of a deep and rapid river. The heavy bay- 
ing of his dog told him too truly, that his feartul pursuer was 
close at hand. One minute he stood for breath, and he then 
plunged into the stream. But scarcely had he gained the 
centre, when the spectre appeared on the bank, and plunged in 
after him, closely followed by the panting dog. Ko-way-hoom- 
mah's apprehensions now amounted to agony. He fancied he 
saw the hollow and glassy eyeballs of his pursuer glaring above 
the water, and that his skeleton hand was already outstretched 
to grapple with him. With a cry of horror he was about to 
give up the struggle for life and sink beneath the waves, when 
his faithful dog, with a fierce yell seized upon his master's 
enemy. After a short but severe struggle they both sunk; 
the waters settled over them forever. He became an altered 
man. He shunned the dance and the ball play, and his former 
hilarity gave place to a settled melancholy. In about a year 
after this strange adventure he joined a war party against a 
distant enemy and never returned. 



APPENDIX. 



After completing the history of my adventures in pursuit 
of scenery and sport in the United States, Canada, and New 
Brunswick, I could not but regret that I had no experiences to 
record in regard to Nova Scotia. I had heard of its salmon 
and its moose, and my heart had been drawn towards this 
"Acadia"' by the beautiful history of "Evangeline," yet I had 
only looked upon its hills from the Bay of Fundy. Just at 
that moment, however, the work of a brother angler came to 
my relief, and I have to thank him for helping me to complete 
my own. The work in question is entitled " Sporting Adverir 
tures in the New Worlds* and was written by Leut. Campbell 
Hardy of the Boyal Artillery. His materials, though highly 
interesting and valuable, are put together in a somewhat desul- 
tory manner, but as angling and moose hunting are his leading 
themes, I shall confine my quotations chiefly to these. 

The peninsula of Nova Scotia including Cape Breton is about 
three hundred miles long and seventy wide, aipd the isthmus 
connecting it with New Brunswick is only ten miles wide. 
Halifax is its principal city and the seat of Grovernment, and 
on the Bay of Fundy coast are a number of flourishing towns, 
flanked by beautiful rural scenery: as a general thing however, • 
the Province is still a country of gentle hills, of numerous lakes 
and rivers, of vast pine forests, and of mossy plains or barrens. 
Like New Brunswick the population is composed of English, 
Scotch and Irish, but it claims to be the home of only one tribe 
of Indians, a remnant of the Micmacs, only numbering about 
one thousand souls. 



482 APPENDIX. 

But let us turn to sporting matters, and listen to the pleasant 
words of Lent. Hardy: 

The forest 'tracks of Nova Scotia, remote from roads or 
settlements, still harbor large herds of the moose. It is even 
strange that this animal, so adverse to the most distant sound 
of an axe, or other sounds foreign to the natural forest music, 
and which cause him to fly precipitately for long distances, 
should still be found in such numbers as he is in Nova Scotia. 
The probable number of these noble animals in this Province is 
difficult to be ascertained, even approximately. It must consist 
of several thousand head. 

The carriboo is so seldom met with now in Nova Scotia, that 
it may be considered as on the verge of extinction in that prov- 
ince. This may be the cause of the extreme wariness and 
timidity of the animal. He is still more liable to be scared 
than the moose, and, when once started, will travel for days, 
seldom revisiting the country where he was first alarmed. 

The carriboo, or rein-deer of North America, is identical with 
the rein-deer of northern Europe. The animal generally stands 
from three to four feet in height at the shoulder. 

The horns are long, branching, and partly palmated. The 
brow antlers stretch forward over the forehead, almost in 
contact with each other, and resembling human hands placed 
vertically side by side, with the fingers extended. The color 
of the antlers, which decorate the head of the female as well 
those of the male, is deep reddish brown. 

The coat of the carriboo is close and shining. In the sum- 
mer, it is of a dirty fawn color, changing in winter to a tawny 
white. The hoof of this animal is broad and spreading, and 
, enables him, by its expansive elasticity, to travel over deep snow 
and on ice with great facility. When lifted from the ground, the 
divisions of the hoof contract, coming in contact with each 
other with a sharp clicking sound, which some natura^sts have 
attributed to the crackling of the knee joint. 

The carriboo browses exclusively on succulent lichens — either 
those found on barrens, or on the trunks of hard-wood trees. 



i 



APPENDIX. 483 

The flesh is like yenison, and more esteemed than that of the 
moose. The carriboo is a gregarious animal. Though the In- 
dians assert, that vast herds, containing nearly a hundred of 
these animals, once roamed over Nova Scotia, more than four 
or five together are now seldom met with. They are generally 
hunted in open country, thickly interspersed with barrens, and 
the sport partakes of the nature of deer-stalking ; the hunter 
crawling along, taking advantage of sheltering masses of rock, 
tall patches of ground laurels, or moss-grown mounds, to within 
range of the herd. Great attention must be paid to the direc- 
tion of the wind, as the carriboo is possessed of the most deli- 
cate sense of smell ; and, when once it has got wind of a hu- 
man being, farewell to all hopes of getting a shot on the part 
of the sportsman. 

The lowing of the carriboo is a short, hoarse bellow, more like 
the bark of a large dog, than the voice of one of the* deer tribe. 

In the western parts of Nova Scotia, and in the neighbor- 
hood of the Cobequid Mountains, near its junction with New 
Brunswick, carriboo are still tolerably plentiful. No attempt 
has ever been made to use these animals in America, as is done 
in Northern Europe, for the purpose of draught. The docility 
of the Laplander's rein-deer is the result of ages of domestica- 
tion ; and it was first attempted by him, as his only resource. 

The black bear of America is found everywhere in Nova 
Scotia. Unlike the former animals, he appears to prefer the 
neighborhood, not of large towns certainly, but of small farms 
and settlements. He grows to the length of five feet, standing, 
sometimes, more than three feet in height. The coat of this 
animal is thick, glossy, when in good condition, and jet black. 
On each side of the muzzle, appears a patch of tawny color. 
The head is sharper and longer than that of the European bear. 
The eye is set low down in the head, black and twinkling, and 
Strongly indicative of his ferocious disposition. 

In the neighborhood of Halifax, bears often appear, and 
cause gr^at uneasiness to the small farmers and settlers living 
by the side of bush roads, between Halifax and St. Margaret's 
Bay, by predatory excursions on the sheep folds. *When stop- 



484 APPENDIX. 

ping at one of these log houses in the neighborhood of some 
small lakes, on which I had been trout-fishing, I have seen the 
cattle come rushing from the bush, panting and evidently in 
great terror, up to the door of the house. They had evidently 
been pursued by a bear. 

These animals seldom molest a man, unless assaulted by him 
first ; and then, be it ever so slight a blow or wound, they will 
immediately turn on him, and the conflict, if he has not a 
bullet wherewith to drop the animal at once, becomes exceed- 
ingly doubtful. The bear will parry the strongest blow of an 
axe, with the greatest dexterity and ease, with his powerful 
arms ; and, when once he has embraced the individual in his 
vice-like grasp, the knife becomes the man's last chance. I 
have seen Indians exhibiting frightful scars received during a 
combat with a bear. 

On the approach of winter, the bear, who is now prodigiously 
fat after revelling on the numerous berries which ripen in the 
fall, crawls to his den, generally under the roots of some dead 
giant of the forest, or between overhanging masses of rock. 
Here he quickly falls asleep, and passes the long winter in one 
uninterrupted snooze. 

Sometimes, when the first snows of winter have fallen, the 
Indian visits the various dens in a large forest district, and dis- 
covers whether Bruin has gone to roost or not, by the tracks 
on the snow outside. A few pokes on the ribs, with a long 
stick ; or, if very obstinate and sleepy, the rousing effects of 
the thick smoke of a birch bark torch, will bring out the bear, 
who is at once shot in the head. The skin of the black bear 
forms a handsome ornament, either for the decoration of a 
sleigh, or as a rug. It may generally be purchased for from 
five to eight dollars. 

Toung bears, to which the female gives birth two at a time, 
in the month of April, are frequently brought into Halifax, by 
the Indians, for sale. They may be easily tamed, though, when 
they grow up, their friendship can never be relied on. 

Bears are often trapped, in the summer, in the dead-falla. 
A small semi-circular enclosure is made, by driving stakes 



APPENDIX. 485 

firmly into the ground, between two trees, the trunks of which 
are a few feet apart. Over the entrance to the enclosure, and 
slightly attached to the trunks of the trees, is suspended a cross- 
beam, heavily loaded at either end by immense logs of timber. 
A bait of flesh, or dead game, is placed inside the enclosure, 
and the surrounding trees are smeared with honey, of which 
the animal is inordinately fond. A bar is placed across the 
entrance of the enclosure, and so connected with the cross- 
beam, that, upon Bruin's attempting to force his way to the 
bait, the beam and its weight of superincumbent timber, come 
down by the run on the back of the unlucky glutton, and make 
him a hopeless prisoner. 

The gray wolf has but lately made his appearance in Nova 
Scotia, not as in other Provinces, however, in company with 
his pr^y, the Canadian deer (Cervus virginianuB.) The gray 
wolf is a large, fierce, and powerful animal. In Maine and New 
Brunswick, several instances have been known of his attacking 
singly and destroying a human being. This animal sometimes 
grows to the length of six feet. The hair is long, fine, and of ' 
a silver gray. A broad band of black, here and there, show- 
ing shining silvery hairs, extend from the head down the back. 
The tail is long and bushy, as the brush of a fo3c. A wolf skin 
forms a frequent decoration for the back of a sleigh. 

They are seldom seen, as they are very vigilant, and con- 
stantly travelling. In their present numbers, they can earn 
but a precarious livelihood in this Province, as they are too few 
to venture an attack on the moose, or even the carriboo. A 
single blow from the powerful fore-leg of a moose would asto- 
nish a bear, and would tell much more on the lean ribs of a 
starving wolf. 

The American fox is a larger and more darkly-colored ani- 
mal than his European relative. This animal is common in 
the woods of Nova Scotia, and his short, sharp bark may often 
be heard echoing through the trees on a clear, calm night. He 
subsists on rabbits and small game. 

The black fox, generally supposed to be an accidental va- 
riety of the common fox, is rarely met with in this Province. 



486 APPENDIX. 

Its skin is a small fortune to the lucky Indian who shoots one 
of these animals, as it is worth from twenty or thirty pounds 
sterling. 

The loup cervier, commonly called the " lucifee" by the set- 
tlers, is abundant in the woods of Nova Scotia. Its fur is long 
and glossy, of a brownish-gray on the back, becoming nearly 
white below. A few irregular dusky spots and markings cover 
the skin. Tufts of stiff black hair grow on the tips of the ears. 
The tail is very short, seldom exceeding three inches in length. 
The length of the animal is about three feet. It is a timid 
creature, flying from the presence of man, and subsisting on 
rabbits and partridges. 

The wild cat is more abundant than the former animal, is 
nearly of the same size, but of a lighter and more tawny color. 
It is a powerful animal, its fore-arms being very thick and mus- 
cular, and is a match for a very large dog. Its tail is longer 
than that of the lucifee, and is tipped with black. 

The beaver once. was found on every lake, brook, and river 
in Nova Scotia. Pursued for the sake of his beautiful coat, 
more relentlessly than any living creature except the buffalo, 
the beaver is nearly exterminated in the Provinces of Nova 
Scotia and New Brunswick. A few, however, are still to be 
met with on the banks of the shady brooks which join that 
beautiful chain of lakes and rivers running across the Province 
of Nova Scotia, between Liverpool and Annapolis. Here, in 
consequence of the decreasing demand for their skins in the 
European market, they are said to be on the increase. 

The discovery and destruction of this interesting quadruped 
has been greatly facilitated by the conspicuity of his aquatic tene- 
ment, and its accompanying defensive structure — the "dam." 
The dam is constructed of brush-wood, or even logs of small 
timbers, several inches in diameter, gnawed through by the 
powerful incisor teeth of this animal, and conveyed to the desti- 
nation on its back. Wherever the brook or river is too shallow 
to admit of the building of its semi-submerged mud-house, the 
water is deepened by the beaver throwing up a substantial 
dam, sometimes entirely across the channel. The house itself 



JLPPBNDIX. 487 

is of mudy conical in shape, and its chamber, to which there is 
a slanting entrance from above the surface, is situated below 
the level of the water. 

The beaver is easily domesticated, and will evince the^ affec- 
tion of a dog for its master. In the spring of 1853, an Indian 
brought me a tame beaver, which he had captured when quite 
young, in the neighborhood of Lake Rossignol, in the western 
end of Nova Scotia; when he wished to leave it, the little animal 
shuffled after him, whining piteously, and having reached him, 
scrambled up his clothes to his neck. The Indian afterwards 
sold it to a zealous naturalist residing about two miles from 
Halifax, at the head of the North- West Arm. Nothing would 
satisfy it for days afterwards, but nestling in the Indian's 
blanket, which he was obliged to leave for that purpose. Its 
owner fed it on bred and milk, with a few cabbage leaves and 
other esculent vegetables. The animal was perfectly tame, 
appeared pleased at being noticed, and answered to the name 
of " Cobeetch," the Indian for beaver. 

I have frequently seen in brooks, pieces of timber which* 
showed marks of the beaver's teeth ; and not long since were 
to be seen the remains of a beaver-dam, in a small brook, which 
trickles into the North- West Arm of the sea, near Halifax. 

The otter is larger than the European variety, and is of a 
uniform dark-brown color. It is numerous in the lakes of 
Nova Scotia, where it revels on the plentiful trout. Their 
paths often appear among the sedges and grasses, on the low 
swamps, in the neighborhood of lakes. In these they are often 
caught by steel traps attached to a large log. The American 
otter is sometimes three feet in length and its fur is valuable, 
a good skin often fetching five dollars. Otters leave curious 
trails on the snow which covers the lakes in winter. The track 
is broad, and conveys the idea of having been formed by a 
large cart-wheel. 

The mink and the muskrat abound in the Nova Scotian 
lakes. The fur of the former is valuable, and of a dark red- 
dish-brown color. Considerably smaller than the otter, the 
mink, like him, subsists on fish, and is often captured in minia- 



488 APPENDIX. 

ture dead-falls for the sake of the skin. The muskrat, called 
"muskquash" by the Indians, is a beaver in miniature. Its 
hind feet are webbed like those of that animal, and it liyes in 
mud-houses, partially submerged in sedgy swamps. 

The Indians can call muskrats by squeakipg into their closed 
hands ; the animal, coming otit from the reeds, is immediately 
shot for its skin, which is worth fourpence or sixpence in the 
market. Many of these skins were formerly used for the pur- 
pose of mixing the fur with that of the beaver in the manufac- 
ture of hats. When dead, the muskquash smells strongly of 
musk. They are easily tamed, but must be kept in a tin cage, 
on account of their propensities for gnawing wood. 

The Canadian porcupine is abundant in the forests of the 
Provinces. The Indian name is " Madwiss." This animal is 
about tVo feet in length, and closely covered with long, coarse 
brown hair, intermixed with sharp spines three inches long. 
These spines grow most numerously on the lower part of the 
back. They are extremely sharp, and on very close examina- 
tion, their points will be found to be armed with minute barbs, 
pointing downwards, thus rendering the quill, when once it has 
entered the flesh of a man or animal, difficult of extraction. 

The quills are of a dusky white color, tipped with black. 
They are extensively used by the squaws in ornamenting sheets 
of birch bark with curious and gaudy designs. The squaws 
stain them of the brightest and most durable colors. Some of 
the dyes are procured at the chemists ; while others, are ex- 
tracted from flowers or bark. They preserve the secrets of 
obtaining these dyes with great caution. 

The porcupine proves good eating in the fall, when in good 
condition, from feeding on blueberries and beech-nuts. In the 
winter, they may constantly be seen on the branches, inacces- 
sible to climbers, of the hemlock ; on the bark and foliage of 
which they feed at this season. They are dull creatures, slow 
of motion, and, when surprised in a tree, will take no pains to 
escape, until knocked over by a shot or stone. They live in 
dens under collected masses of rock, or roots of trees. In 
summer time they peel the bark of young spruces^ betraying, 



APPENDIX. 489 

by the conspicuous denuded stem, their whereabouts to the 
prowling Indian. 

Among the game birds found in Nova Scotia, the American 
woodcock is entitled to the first place, and notice. It is smaller 
than the European woodcock. The upper parts of the plumage 
are dark reddish-brown, barred with black, the breast being 
very light, almost tawny. Its flavor is equally good with that 
of the European bird. The woodcock arrives in Nova Scotia 
in April, sometimes earlier, if the spring be forward, breeds in 
this country, and does not leave it till the sharp frosts set in 
at the beginning of November. 

Excellent sport may be had with these birds in clumps of 
thick alder bushes standing in meadows by the roadside, in the 
months of September and October. Well-timed and necessary 
laws lately have imposed a fine upon shooting this bird in the 
summer, as was formerly the case, the young birds being de- 
stroyed wholesale, before they were full-grown and able to fly. 
It requires a quick eye to kill three out of four woodcocks, put 
up in the dense and tall alder copses in which they are found. 
The sportsmen sometimes, however, when they have a number 
of good dogs or beaters, surround the covers. The woodcock 
seems to travel late in the evening, and at night, for, unless 
disturbed, they are never seen on the wing during the day. 

Large bags are annually made by sportsmen from Halifax, 
in the covers, which are tolerably numerous within a circuit of 
twenty miles from that city. Many can boast of having shot 
two hundred «ouple of these birds in a ceason, going out for a 
day at a time, twice or three times a week, perhaps. 

By far the best grounds for cock in Nova Scotia, and per- 
haps in North America, are in the neighborhood of the pic- 
turesque village of Kentville, situated on the Annapolis road, 
at a distance of about sixty miles from Halifax. The country 
is here composed of low copses of alder and hazel, for some 
distance on either side of the road, and the ground interspersed 
with ferns, heaths, and moist mosses. The flights of woodcock, 
which arrive in these covers annually, are surprising. The 
sport can only be surpassed by that to be enjoyed in Albania. 

VOL. n. — Q* 



490 APPENDIX. 

The -woodcock does not appear to have been found in Nova 
Scotia at its first settlement. ' He is never seen far from clear- 
ings in the forest, though here and there likely-looking covers 
may be met with. 

A drive on a fresh autumnal morning through the gorgeous 
scenery of the fall, and then a day in cover, watching the mo- 
tions and working of the lively little "cockers," returning in 
the evening with a bag containing eight or ten couple of plump 
cock, and the good dogs reposing in the wagon between your 
knees, conduce to render a day's sport, with these delicious 
birds, a delightful change to the monotony of town life. 

The snipe arrives in Nova Scotia, and leaves the country, 
later than the woodcock. They are very plentiful in the 
marshes around Kentville. Perhaps, the best snipe ground in 
the world is the Great Tantemara marsh, in the south-eastern 
part of New Brunswick. The American snipe is nearly iden- 
tical with the European. 

Two kinds of partridges, or rather grouse, are found in the 
woods of Nova Scotia. The best, most lively, and handsomest 
bird of the two, is the ruffed grouse. This bird is called, in 
Nova Scotia, the "birch partridge,*' from its being generally 
found in hills covered by groves of birch, on the young buds of 
which they feed. This bird is wilder, and not so stupid as the 
spruce partridge, which is described elsewhere. 

The birch partridge is a very handsome bird, its general 
plumage being reddish brown, mottled everywhere with shades 
of light fawn and dusky color. When irate, it struts about in 
the fashion of the male turkey, drooping its wings, expanding 
its broad tail, and elevating its ruff, which extends from the 
back of the head down the sides of the neck. 

These birds are very good eating in the autumn and winter, 
though not to be compared with the English partridge in this 
respect. 

Amongst the earliest migratory birds which arrive in this 
province in 'the spring, is the American robin. This bird is one 
of the thrushes, rather larger than the common English thrush, 
and much more gaudily colored. The bill is yellow ; the head, 



APPENDIX. 491 

wings, and tail, black. The back is of a bluish slate color, and 
the breast bright red, the color of brick dust. 

By all, the arrival of the robin is hailed with pleasure. They 
arrive in great numbers, frequenting the barrens in search of 
berries, and pasture-meadows for worms. 

Groups of these birds may be seen hopping about in the 
green meadows in the neighborhood of settlements, while, 
perched on the top rail of a snake fence, or on a branch of a 
solitary tree, may be noticed the watchful male, ready to an- 
nounce to the feeding birds the approach of danger. 

The song of the robin is melodious, and very similar, in some 
of its strains, to that of the English thrush. Their being good 
eating, numerous, and easily, shot, extinguishes, however, all 
the romantic feelings of regard, with which the arrival^of this 
early, pretty, and sociable songster, should be attended, on the 
part of many of the lower class of Nova Scotia sportsmen, who 
go out on the barrens between the North- West Arm and the 
Three-mile House, or along hedge-tows in green meadows, in 
quest of robins. 

Aft^r the expenditure of a great amount of powder and shot, 
a couple, perhaps, of robins are brought to town in triumph, 
held by the tail. • 

For several days towards the end of summer, Halifax com- 
mon, and the open fields towards the North- West Arm, are the 
scene of great excitement from the arrival of large flights of 
plover, which birds stop here to rest before proceeding farther 
southward. Everyman or boy, who can muster up a " shooting 
iron," goes out to blaze away at the plover as they pass. 

Some of the sportsmen kneel down, with powder and shot 
lying loosely beside them, ready for quick and indiscriminate 
loading. " Here's another lot cominV' is the cry, and bang 
go dozens of guns, pointed at the dense flight of plover. Then 
there is a general scramble for the slain. Some of the more 
knowing ones only load with a little loose powder, and claim as 
many of the dead birds as they ought to have put shot into 
their barrel. 

Of all the British provinces of North America, Nova Scotia 



492 APPENDIX. 

offers the greatest facilities and opportunities to the orthodox 
sportsman, whether resident or visitor, civil or military, who 
may wish to pass a week or so in the wild old woods, or by the 
side of her numerous and picturesque rivers and lakes. 

There are five methods by which moose may be hunted or 
killed in Nova Scotia, viz., creeping on them in the fall and 
winter, calling the bull-moose in the faU, running them down 
on snow-shoes in February and March, bringing to bay with 
dogs, and snaring. The first three are orthodox ; the la&t two 
practices arrant poaching. 

The fall is the most enjoyable time for hunting the moose. 
The bull is, at this season, in his full vigor, and is truly a noble 
animal to behold. Adorned with massive antlers, and evincing 
a roaming, wild, and sometimes fierce disposition, there is more 
excitement attendant on shooting a bull-moose in the fall, thaa 
at any other time of the year. 

The delicious days and mild nights, particularly during the 
Indian summer, are much preferable to the cold variable wea- 
ther of the winter; w)iile the science and woodcraft displayed, 
by the Indian hunter in discovering and following a moose 
track, in places where, even by the closest scrutiny, the eye of 
the white man cannot distinguish the foot print ; and the de* 
lightful ease of walking in jnoccasins over the elastic carpeting 
of moss in the fir forests, and on the soft, moist, newly-fallen 
leaves in the hard woods, give to this season undeniable prece- 
dence. 

In the fall, too, additional sport may be obtained at night, 
and sometimes even during the day, by calling the bull moose. 
Most of the Indians, who make it their business to accompany 
the sportsman into the woods, are good hands at calling. The 
moose '^ cair' is a trumpet, made by rolling a sheet of birch- 
bark into a cone. No material has been found to equal birch- 
bark for this purpose. Metal will not answer, producing a sound 
too shrill and ringing. The Indian commences to call at sun- 
down, ceasing when it becomes dark, till moon-rise ; as a moose 
coming up, when there was not sufficient light to see along the 
barrels, would almost certainly escape. 



^ APPBNDIX. 498 

The very best time to call is towards morning — ^for an hour 
before dawn, and for a short time after daybreak. At this 
time, moose appear to be less cautious, and more eager to an- 
swer the call than they are in the early part of the night. In 
calling, the Indian and sportsman conceal themselves behind a 
rock, or a clump of dwarf evergreens, on the edge of a barren, 
the Indian standing on the top of a rock, or sometimes climb- 
ing a tree, so as to give the sound of his call every advantage 
for diffusing itself through the surrounding forest. 

When an answer is obtained, and the moose appears to be 
bent on coming up, the Indian either recedes, or sends the 
sportsman some hundred yards or so in advance ; or, should the 
animal hesitate on arriving in the neighborhood of the caller, 
the Indian has a better chance of allaying the animal's suspi- 
cions, by the apparent distance of the cow. The moose, hear- 
ing the call at a greater distance than he had expected, again 
advances, and, at a few paces, probably receives the fire of the 
sportsman. ' • 

Nothing can be more productive of feelings of excitement 
than sitting, wrapped in blankets, on the edge of a forest-girt 
plain, the moon peering through mists of gently-falling dew, 
and faintly illuminating the wild scene, now flashing on the 
white surface of a granite boulder, and then- sparkling in the 
water of the swamp, and on the bedewed mounds of moss, and 
clumps of ground-laurels ; nothing can be more exciting, when 
the wild notes of the Indian's call, rending the calm air, have 
dispersed over the echoing forest, than the succeeding moments 
of listening for an answer. 

You scarcely believed your ears to have been capable of such 
exertion, if so it may be termed. 

And then, when, far away from over the hills, and through 
the dense fir-forests, comes the booming answer of a bull moose ; 
when you hear the distant crashing of branches, and the rat- 
tling the massive antlers against the trees ; and when, at length 
the monarch of the American forest emerges from the woods, 
and stands snorting and bellowing on the open barren, his pro- 
portions looming gigantic through the hazy atmosphere — then 



494 APPENDIX. ^ 

does the blood course through your veins as it never did before ; 
and, scarcely knowing what is about to happen, you grasp the 
ready rifle, and crouch in the protecting bushes. It is hard 
to take precise aim by moonlight. Unless tJie bead on the 
barrel be of polished silver, it is advisable to chalk the end of 
the gun. 

Some hunters draw a line with a piece of chalk from the 
bead to the eye. However, in calling, one has seldom occa- 
sion for a long shot ; indeed, I have heard of the hair of a 
moose's coat having been singed by the flash, so close has he 
advanced to the ambush. 

Calling is seldom attempted, either at night or by day, if 
there is anything like a breeze stirring through the woods. 
Moose are more cautious in windy weather, are longer in com- 
ing up, and generally endeavor to get round to leeward of the 
caller. The Indians will seldom call when it is windy ; they 
say it only makes confusion amongst the moose, and spoils the 
countr^; and they are very averse to starting a moose without 
getting a shot at him. 

I have never heard two Indians call exactly alike, and the 
settlers assert that they can call as well as an Indian on this 
account. They say that any loud noise at night will make a 
moose come up to the spot. This idea is erroneous. The dif- 
ference of note does not signify, for the cow moose differ widely 
in their call ; but it is in giving vent to the sound, making it 
appear to come from the lungs of a moose, and not from those 
of a man, that the Indian excels. Apropos of notes : I once 
went out to call moose in the neighborhood of Halifax with 
a white settler, for one night. He had a cockney reputation of 
being a good hand at calling moose. He represented his call- 
ing as "fust chop. He had a most grand note, larned from 
the best Ingin hunter in Novy Scoshy." 

At his first call, I scarcely knew whether to laugh, or to be 
angry with him for disturbing the country. I asked him whe- 
ther he had ever heard the bray of an English jackass. 

He " guessed not." 

" Well then," said I, " the noise you have just made is it to 



APPENDIX. 495 

a T," and if you can get an answer from any other living 
creature, I'm a Dutchman !" 

In the fall of 1853, a white settler, who thought he would 
try his hand at calling, as moose were numerous in the woods 
at the back of his clearing, got, as he expressed it, "Almost a 
horrid scarin' " from a bull moose. 

To his surprise he obtained an answer to his first call, and 
the moose came, in broad daylight, right up to the man, who 
was so taken "aback,** that he did not fire till the animal was 
nearly upon him. He then discharged his gun without taking 
aim, and of course missed the moose, who attacked him at 
once, knocking him over. He said that for some minutes he 
did not know whether he was on his head or his heels, and 
that when he came to his senses again, he found, no doubt to 
his great relief, his persecutor gone. He was badly bruised, 
but by good luck escaped having his skull fractured by a blow 
from the foreleg of the powerful animal. 

The calling season lasts from the beginning of September to 
the end of October ; the best time to make an expedition for 
this purpose being for a week before and a week after the full 
moon, in October. It is a curious fact, that a bull moose, if 
he be five miles distant when he first hears the call, will, even 
should it not be repeated, come in a perfectly straight course, 
through dense forests, and over rocky barrens and brooks, to 
within a few yards of the very spot where the call had been 
made. 

Creeping moose, when the snow is on the ground, is a sport 
not appreciated by all. Heathful, manly, and exciting, though 
it be, it is attended with so much " roughing it," and by so 
many disappointments, owing to the state of the weather, that 
it is not every one who will care to repeat the experiment, par- 
ticularly if a shot has not been obtained in the first attempt. 
Still, for a person who can stand, and derive benefit from a 
hard day's work, and who likes a life in the woods at all sea- 
sons, it is enticing enough. 

Moose, as has beeh before observed, herd together in winter, 
forming what is termed a " yard ;" their movements being 



496 APPENDIX. 

more or less restricted, according to the inclemency of the 
weather, the depth of the snow, and their wildness occasioned 
by proximity to settlements. 

In the winter of 1852-63, I was hunting in the neighbor- 
hood of Petite, Nova Scotia, in company with an Indian, 
named Joe Cope, the best hunter in the Province, although his 
sight and hearing are beginning to fail him. During the 
whole fortnight I was out, the weather was clear, calm, and 
frosty, and there was only a foot of snow in the woods. From 
these reasons, and from frequently being started by parties 
who were taking advantage of the good sledding on the bush- 
paths, for the purpose of hauling timber, the moose did not 
yard at all. They were always on the move, feeding as they 
went. 

They never lay down without making a detour^ and coming 
back to leeward of their tracks ; and then they were constantly 
on the qui vive, lying with their heads down the wind, so as to 
have a clear view of the country to leeward, whilst their keen 
sense of smell would detect the scent of any creature passing 
to the windward of their position. 

Moose, however, were in great abundance, and we looked 
forward to a favorable change of weather as bringing certain 
sport. One afternoon returning to camp, after an unsuccessful 
trudge on the barrens, in hopes of seeing carriboo or moosei 
enjoying the sun by the edge of the woods, we saw the Shubeij- 
acadie mountains, distant about fifteen miles, become gradually 
enveloped in what appeared to be a thick mist. 

" Yes — ^no — yes. My sake ! I am very glad — ^he snow fast 
on mountains — plenty snow to-night — moose steak for dinner 
to-morrow," said old Joe in great glee. 

In half an hour the flakes which drifted up with a gradually 
increasing breeze, fell thickly, and the iron crust which had 
formed on the surface of the old snow during the late continu* 
ance of frost, relaxed. 

As there was an hour's daylight still to be calculated upon, 
we went to look after tracks in a swampy valley covered with 
thick evergreens, distant about half a mile from camp. 



APPENDIX. 497 

Here we at once hit off the tracks of two moose. They were 
quite fresh. " Gone hy, only two, tree minute," said Joe. Just 
as our excitement was at its pitch, expecting to see the moose 
every instant, it suddenly fell quite calm again. However, we 
continued to creep with great caution ; and presently old Joe, 
after bobbing his head about as he tried to make out some object 
in the distant forest, beckoned me to come cautiously behind 
him. 

" Moose — ^there — fire," whispered he, his rugged features en- 
livened by a savage grin of exultation. 

For some seconds I could not discover the moose. At length 
seeing a dark patch loom.ing through some thick bushes, at the 
distance of at least one hundred yards, I let drive with both 
barrels. On rushing up, we found that both moose had gone 
off; a few drops of blood on the snow, however, showed that 
one was wounded. 

" I very sorry, but I sure if I try take you more handy, moose 
start before you get shot," said the Indian. 

"Oh, I know it was not your fault Joe," answered I, "but I 
think we shall get him yet." 

" Sartain," said Joe. "Moose-steak for dinner to-morrow, 
too dark to get him to-night, he stiff in mornin." 

We followed the track of the wounded moose for a short dis- 
tance, and returned to camp with the e/cpectation of killing him 
in an hour after breakfast next morning. But our hopes were 
doomed to disappointment ; when on waking next morning, we 
found that the snow, before so long wanted, had fallen most 
inopportunely, completely covering up the tracks of our moose. 
Tracking him by the blood marks on the trees, against which 
he had brushed in his course for a short distance, we found to 
our chagrin, that he had taken to the open barrens, and we 
were obliged to leave the poor brute to perish, most probably 
from his wound. 

Wind is indispensable in winter hunting. On a calm day^ 
however soft the snow might be, the tread of the hunter will in 
nine cases out of ten start these wary animals, particularly 
should they be lying down. Unless there is a good breeze 



498 APPBNDIX. 

stirring the branches of the forest, it is only by chance that a 
shot may be obtained at moose, however numerous they may 
be. When a moose is started, he quickly gains his legs and 
plunges forward for about fifty yards. Then he invariably stops 
for a second or two to ascertain the cause of alarm, and make 
up his mind in what direction to shape his flight. 

This momentary pause often leads to his destruction, for the 
hunter on hearing him start, will often be able to obtain a 
glimpse of if not a shot at the moose, by rushing on in the 
direction of the sound. 

A started moose will alarm all the moose which may be 
yarded in the country through which he flies. Conseqently, it 
is useless to attempt hunting in the direction he has gone. 

The snapping of the boughs where moose are feeding, often 
makes the Indian hunter aware of their proximity. Although 
every Indian can creep on an9 shoot moose when by himself, 
few can officiate as good hunters to accompany the white sports- 
man. 

Much additional caution is necessary from the comparatively 
clumsy manner in which the white man will travel through the 
woods, and the whole afiair is connected with so much more 
labor and contracted resources on the part of the Indian, that 
it requires an old and experienced hunter — one who has made 
it his business to accom jany parties of sportsmen into the bush 
— to ensure them a chance of success. 

The Indian Joe Cope, is one of the best of this class. He 
is, though getting old, still a very good hunter, and understands 
perfectly all the necessaries for a camp, and ways of making it 
comfortable. He is a merry old fellow withal, having at his 
command an unlimited number of sporting anecdotes wherewith 
to enliven the camp in the long evenings. 

His son "Jem,'* commonly called by his father, "the boy 
Jeem," usually accompanies old Joe in the capacity of camp- 
keeper ; and a capital one he makes too. He will guess the exact 
moment of your return to camp, after the day's hunting, and 
will have prepared'a kettle of delicious soup — a sort of " om- 
nium gatherum'' of partridges, hares, peas, onions, &c. He 



APPENDIX. 499 

takes care that the camp larder shall never be short of game ; 
for he is a good shot at partridge, and is ^' great" at snaring 
hares. • 

The " boy^ Jeem" promises to turn out as good a hunter as 
his father. 1 have often been out with them together, when old 
Joe has appealed to his son for his judgment as to the age of a 
track, or of a bitten bough, or concerning the manoeuvres of a 
yard of moose. 

"I b'lieve Jeem right," he would say, looking at me with a 
grin of satisfaction. One of Joe's recommending points is, 
that though he has shot nearly as many moose as he has hairs 
on his head, he hunts with the excitement and enthusiasm of a 
young hand. Joe, as well as several other Indians, entertains 
a firm belief that moose originally came from the sea ; and that, 
in a case of extreme emergency, they will again betake them- 
selves to that element. 

" *Bout thirty year ago," says Joe, " there warn't not a sin- 
gle moose in whole province. They bin so hunted and destroy- 
ed for *bout ten year, they all go to sea. Ingin go all over 
woods, everywhere, and never see single sign or track of moose 
anywhere — only carriboo — ^plenty carriboo then. Well, Cap- 
ting, my father, he find first moose-track, when they begin to 
come back agen. I was leetle boy, then, and I never seen 
moose. We live in wigwam, away on Beaver-bank road ; and, 
one day, my father came back to camp, and say, ' Joe, I seen 
fresh moose-track. Come along with me.* Well, we went; 
and father crept, and shot big cow moose. I never seen moose, 
and I 'most 'fraid to go near the poor brute. 

" Well, we hauled it out whole to camp ; and all the Ingin, 
from all parts of province, come to see carciss ; and the old 
Ingin, they all clap their hands, and say, * Good time come 
agen — the moose come back.' 

"Well, Capting, after that, moose was seen almost every 
where ; and one man see two moose swim ashore on Basin of 
Minas ; and, since then, plenty moose all over province. I 
'most Traid, though, these rascals settlers, snarin, and runnin 
'em down with their brutes of dogs, will drive the poor brutes 
away to sea agen." 



500 APPENDIX. 

Joe is a most honest and straightforward Indian, when in 
the woods, in the capacity of hunter ; but if once overruled, 
or badly-treated, will never accompany the same person again. 

His hatred of all white men, who are not of the class of his 
employers, particularly the settlers in the interior, is intense, 
and is often productive of much amusement. In the winter of 
1852, I was proceeding along a bush-path, with Joe and Jim> 
dragging a hand sled, loaded with our camping apparatus, when 
we met a party of settlers, and their teams. One of them call- 
ing Joe aside, asked him whether he had not cut some moose 
snares in that neighborhood, the fall previous. 

" Sure I did, always when I see them." 

" Well, Joe," replied the settler, who, as I afterwards heard, 
had set them himself; " ttiey belonged to a friend of mine, 
and I guess if you stop about here, you'll get your camp set 
a-fire." 

Joe flared up immediately. 

" I tell you what it is, you rascal. I know you. If you, or 
any other same sort, come near camp, and try do anything, I 
shoot you, 'pon me soul, all same as one moose. There now, 
you mind, I take my oate I do it, you villain !" 

I should not have been surprised at old Joe carrying his 
threat into execution. The previous fall, his son Jim had fired 
at some animal, I believe a bear, which had crept up to him 
and his father while calling moose at night. 

" What was it, Jeem ?" asked old Joe, as the creature went 
crashing off through the bushes. 

" Man," said Jim ; " he creep on us. What business he come 
to meddle with us ? I seen him standin' when I fire." 

When Joe has occasion to enter the bar-room of a roadside 
inn, as is sometimes the case in travelling to and from the 
hunting-country, he sits down in a corner, very sulky, and sel- 
dom vouchsafes an answer to the numerous questions put to him 
by inquisitive Blue-noses. 

On one occasion he was returning with me to Halifax, after 
an unsuccessful moose hunt, and was particularly short to the 
settlers, and teamsters in the bar-room of the twenty-seven mile 
bouse. 



APPENDIX. 501 

" Well, now, tell how you'd act when you got fixed in a snow- 
storm, and couldn't find camp ?" asked one of his persecutors. 

No answer from Joe, who drew volumes from his pipe, and 
spat with great emphasis on the floor. 

'' I guess you couldn't fix a moose with that are shootin-iron 
of yourn, at a hundred yards— could you now?" 

It was too much for poor Joe, who said : 

" Wat you want know for ? You mind your own business, 
and I do mine. Spose I ask question 'bout hay, and all that 
sort, wat fool I look. And now you want know 'bout my busi- 
ness, you look like fool. You people always 'quiring and askin' 
foolish question which don't consarn you." And with that, he 
stalked out of the room. 

From his frequent employment, and being paid a dollar a day, 
Joe should be well off. He is, however, always hard up. One 
day, in the early spring, when salmon was very scarce, and 
selling at a dollar per pound in the market, a friend of mine 
met him returning to camp with the head and shoulders of a fine 
salmon. 

" Hallo ! Joe, what on earth are you going to do with that 
salmon?" 

" Why, Capting, Mrs. Cope he say this morning, * Mr. Cope, 
I very fond of salmon, 'spose you try and get a leetle bit for 
dinner to-day.' I tell him yes, and I see this very fine piece 
very cheap." 

He had paid a pound currency for it. 

Mrs. Cope makes a little money by working designs on birch 
bark with porcupine quills. Quill work, as it is termed, fetches 
a high price in Halifax, where it is bought by travellers to Eu- 
rope or the States. 

Joe said in my room one day, " Mrs. Cope he make a hun- 
dred a year by his work, and I make good deal by huntin'. 
'Spose 'bout a hundred a-year too." 

Before he departed, however, he said : 

" Capting, I most shockin hard up just now. You got dollar 
handy ! Pon my word I pay you in few days." 

There are many other good Indians who can hunt with " the 



502 APPENDIX. 

« 

gentlemen," besides Joe Cope. Ned Nolan, Williams, the 
Pauls of Ship Harbor, the Glodes of Annapolis, and Joe Penanl 
of Chester, are all capital hands in the woods. They all ask 
the regular charge of one dollar per diem. In this Province, the 
Indians do not claim the moose shot by the sportsmen — a much 
more satisfactory arrangement than that which prevails in 
Canada, where, for every moose that is shot, the Indians charge 
the sportsman one pound extra, claiming the whole carcass into 
the bargain. 

To return from this digression, to the sport of creeping moose 
in winter. Creeping may commence in November, when the 
first snow has fallen. At this time, the bull moose is adorned 
with antlers, and the snow not falling very deep does not neces- 
sitate the use of snow-shoes. However, as the snow may all 
disappear in one night at this time of year, and as the ground 
is constantly frozen, and thereby rendered callous to the im- 
pression of a moose's foot, sport cannot always be reckoned 
upon. 

The very best time to go out after moose in the winter is, 
about the middle of January. If it be a hard season, with 
plenty of snow on the ground ; and if he be favored with a fair 
amount of windy weather, and occasional snow storms, the 
sportsman who goes into the woods, accompanied by good In- 
dians, and has fixed upon a good hunting country, may make 
sure of success. 

In the month of March, the snow generally lies very deep in 
the woods, and its surface is covered by a crust, caused by the 
alternate influence of the sun and frost. The hunter can travel 
easily on snow-shoes, while the unfortunate moose breaks 
through the crust at every step, sometimes sinking up to his 
body and grazing his legs against the sharp edges of the broken 
surface. 

Running moose down is rather a murderous* practice; as, 
when a fresh track is found, and the moose started, the per- 
severing hunter is certain to come up with the animal, after a 
chase more or less protracted. The moose is then shot, de- 
fenceless, and in a state of complete exhaustion. 



APPENDIX. 508 

Sometimes, when the snow is very deep, moose may be run 
down in a quarter of an hour, while at others he may be pur- 
sued for days^ the hunter giving up the chase at dusk, camping 
primitively on the spot, and recommencing the pursuit at day- 
break next morning. At all events, from the certainty of 
shooting the animal, then in a state of utter helplessness, I 
consider the sport as inferior to creeping. 

It is so destructive in a hard winter, that it should be pro- 
hibited by law, as well as the practice of running moose down 
with dogs. Chasing moose with dogs is such an unsportsman- 
like proceeding, that it is seldom practised, except by the set- 
tlers, who love to hear the yelping of their own brutes of curs, 
and to destroy a moose from mere wantonness, when they ought 
to be attending to their unprogressing farms and clearings. 

The plan adopted is this : a party of these people go out 
into the woods with a pack of all the big long-legged curs that 
can be mustered in the neighborhood. Surrounding some hard- 
wood hill, in which they know moose are. yarded, they turn in 
the dogs. The moose are at once started, and should they 
get past the "gunners," are quickly brought to bay by the 
dogs, and shot. 

A dog will make more noise when after moose, than after 
any other game. Nothing scares moose so much as the voice 
of a dog ; and a pack of curs yelping through the woodi will so 
alarm the moose in the surrounding country that they will im- 
mediately leave it never to return. 

Snaring moose is still practised in Nova Scotia by the set- 
tlers, in spite of a heavy fine. The most common way of con- 
structing the snare is as follows. The trees are felled in a line 
for about one hundred yards in the woods. Falling on one an- 
other, they form a fence some five or six feet high. Several 
gaps are made in this fence wide enough to admit of the pas- 
sage of the riioose. A young tree is bent down hj the united 
exertions of several men over the gap, and is fastened by a 
catch attached to a false platform. A noosed rope is fastened 
to the end of the tree, and suspended round the opening. The 
unfortunate moose, after walking along the fence till he arrives 



504 APPENDIX. 

at the gap, attempts to pass through ; but, stepping on the 
platform, the tree flies back, drawing the noose tightly round 
his head or legs. From the disposition to ro^yu, evinced by 
moose in the fall, snares are generally set at this season. 

The carcass of a snared moose is generally comparatiyely 
worthless, from the bruising it has received during the struggles 
of the animal in endeavoring to escape, particularly if he be 
only entangled by the legs. Sometimes the settler, not visit- 
ing his snares regularly, finds a moose in one, weighing per- 
haps twelve hundred pounds, in a state of decomposition. 

It is from these snares being placed in haunts only known 
to themselves, and from the difiEiculty of tracing the original 
setter of the snare when it is found, that one of these infamous 
cases seldom meets with punishment. In fact, law is of little 
value in the backwoods. 

Sometimes a simple rope with a running noose is fastened to 
. a tree, and suspended round an opening in the bushes, leading 
to a barren — for moose often form regular paths, like those of 
rabbits, only on a larger scale — ^by which they enter and de- 
part from small barrens. 

A society has lately been organized in Halifax for the pre- 
servation of the game and fish of Nova Scotia. Its exertions 
have at present, been confined to the removal of dams and 
other olfctructions to the progress of salmon up the provincial 
rivers to their spawning grounds^ This society is under the 
direction of an able and active gentleman, through whose 
exertions much has been done for the preservation of salmon. 
Captain C — . 

May we not hope that this society, aided by the ability and 
well directed eflforts of its president, who is a thorough sports- 
man, will shortly do something towards preventing the extinc- 
tion of the much persecuted moose of Nova Scotia? The 
forests throygh which he ranges will probably remain uncleared 
for ages, but cannot long continue to be the resort of this noble 
animal, whose extinction, not far distant, unless the wholesale 
destruction by the poaching practices above alluded to, be put 
a stop to by energetic and well directed efforts, would be a sub- 



APPENDIX. 506 

ject of regret both to naturalists and sportsmen, and — when too 
late — to the Nova Scotians themselves. 

I do not believe that more than one species of moose-deer is 
to be found in North America, though the moose of Canada 
are said to be larger than those of Nova Scotia and New 
Brunswick ; and I have heard the distinguishing appellation of 
the black bell moose applied to those of Nova Scotia. I think 
that the difference in size, if any, is to be accounted for by dif- 
ference of climate and food. 

A bull moose, when at his full-growth, which he attains in 
his sixth year, will stand seventeen or eighteen hands at the 
shoulder, and will weigh from one thousand to twelve hundred 
pounds. His food consists of the leaves and tender branches 
of maples, birches, moosewood, (of which he is particularly 
fond, and will travel long distances in search of,) mountain ash, 
dogwood, withered, and a variety of other shrubs. 

In the winter months, when the leaves have fallen, the tops , 
of young shoots are pulled down by his long muscular upper 
lip, called the mouffle, resembling the short prehensile proboscis 
of the tapir, and are bitten off; and, at this season, when over- 
taken by hunger, on his way through green woods, he will often 
feed on the boughs of young evergreens, eschewing, however, 
those of the spruces. 

His short neck will not allow him to graze, or pick up any- 
thing from the ground withoujt a very wide separation of the 
fore-legs, or by kneeling, which position, however, he* often 
assumes to crop the fresh grass in some swampy meadow in the 
spring. 

The coat of the moose is composed of long stiff bristles of a 
light ash color near their roots, and is of a dark russet brown 
color, which in the bull in winter changes to a glossy black. 
From behind the ears down the short neck and part of the back 
runs a hog mane composed of bristles nearly a foot in length. 
Under the body and on the legs, the hair is of a fawn, or, more 
properly, sandy color. The eye is black, large, and very 
expressive. 

The flesh of the cow moose in winter is excellent, bearing 

VOL. II. — H* 



506 APPENDIX. 

the same comparison to beef that venison does to mutton. The 
mouffle is considered a delicacy ; and soup made of it has a 
strong resemblance to that made of turtle. 

Not the least curious feature about this extraordinary animal 
is the bell, as it is termed, which is a pendant piece of skin, 
covered with long black hair, growing from the junction of his 
disproportionately long head with the short neck. The antlers, 
whicli adorn the bull only, are massive and palmated, fringed 
with short spikes or tines, the number of which, as some assert, 
though erroneously, indicates the age of the animal. The low- 
est tine extends forwards over the forehead, and supplies the 
place of the brow antler. 

In travelling, the moose, slightly elevating his head, rests his 
antlers on his shoulders, in which position they do not oflFer so 
much obstruction to the progress of the animal through the 
dense covers of his wooded haunts. Towards the end of Jan- 
uary, bull moose shed their horns, which, beginning to shoot 
again in April, have attained their full growth by September. 

These antlers, which often measure fqur feet from tip to tip, 
and weigh sometimes as much as sixty pounds, would, if used 
as such, prove formidable weapons of offence to any adversary ; 
but the moose, unless in the calling season, between the begin- 
ning of September and the end of October, and then, only 
when wounded, seldom uses them against his pursuers. In the 
calling season, bull moose, animated by the spirit of jealousy, 
have dreadful conflicts. 

An Indian told me that, often when calling moose, in the 
fall, which is effected by imitating the plaintive cry of the 
female, upon a trumpet of birch bark, and not succeeding in 
luring the suspicious animal in their range, he had changed his 
tactics, and, by imitating the note of the bull moose, had at 
once induced the bull, whose rage at finding a rival, got the 
better of his prudence, to com& crashing madly through the 
bushes to destruction. 

The same Indian said he had killed a moose, in the fall, a 
great part of whose flesh was literally worthless, from the 
wounds he had received in a recent joust. The fore-leg is the 



APPENDIX. 507 

most common weapon used by the moose, when attacking a 
man or dog. Rearing up on his hind-legs, he strikes down- 
wards with the fore-legs with amazing force and velocity. A 
blow given by a fulj-grown moose would, if delivered on the 
head of a man, fracture his skull ; and I have seen a dog dis- 
abled by a blow from a young one in my possession, then 
scarcely able to stand, being only a week old. The cow moose 
gives birth to two calves in April. 

As soon as the ground is covered with deep snow, in winter, 
moose, discontinuing their wandering habits, herd together, 
and form what is termed a moose-yard, by treading down the 
snow in some part of the forest covered with hard wood, as all 
timber and brushwood of a deciduous nature is called, which 
will afford them good browsing. In one of these yards, they 
will remain as long as the supply of provender lasts, or until 
they are disturbed, trampling down the snow in large circles, 
concentric with, and gradually increasing as they feed outwards 
from the original starting point. 

In Canada, where the snow falls to a much greater depth 
than in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, these yards are more 
regularly defined, and the moose more reluctant to leave them ; 
consequently, the Indians, having discovered a yard, (called 
ravagS by the French Canadians,) taking a favorable opportu- 
nity, can return, days or weeks afterwards, with a party of 
sportsmen, and shoot nearly eVery moose in the yard. 

In the summer months, the moose, partly from being tor- 
mented by the hosts of musquitoes and black flies which swarm 
in the woods at this season, and partly for the sake of feeding 
on the leaves and tendrils of water-lilies, and other aquatic 
plants, passes the hottest part of the day nearly submerged in 
the water of the little ponds and lakes which occur at such fre- 
quent intervals in the forest6 of Nova Scotia and New Bruns- 
wick. 

He is a fast swimmer, and is diflScult to be overtaken, even 
by the fleet canoe of the Indian, by whom, however, he is often 
surprised and shot in the long chain of lakes and rivers which, 
running across Nova Scotia, between Annapolis and Liverpool, 



508 APPENDIX. 

is coDtinnally traversed by Indians on furring and trapping 
expeditions. 

Although so thoroughly wHd, and averse to the approach 
even of the common animals of the forest, it is a singular cir- 
cumstance, that the moose when taken young can be easily 
domesticated, and becomes at once perfectly tame and auda- 
ciously familiar. 

Having reared and kept for upwards of eight months a young 
moose, I noticed several curious facts concerning the habits 
and actions of these animals. 

The calf moose in question was brought to me with another 
of the same age, which could not have been more than a few 
days old, in the end of April. They were bull and cow, and 
had been surprised in the woods by some black men who were 
searching for partridges. Their mother forsaking them on the 
approach of the men, they were easily caught, and brought 
into Halifax next day in a bullock-cart with legs bound. The 
cow died in a few days from the effects of a fall, which as I 
afterwards found she had received from the cart. The young 
bull, by great attention and repeated visiting, lived, and ap- 
peared to thrive. Few people have succeeded in bringing up 
young moose ; for they have generally sickened and died from 
want of suitable and natural food. 

I was advised to procure a domestic cow to suckle my moose 
calf — ^knowing, however, that, from the food of the moose being 
principally leaves, branches, and bark, its milk could not be so 
rich as that of the common cow, I diluted it with an equal 
quantity of water, which I gave to the young moose from a 
bottle, thickening it gradually with a little Indian meal. 

When I found that he would mouth and swallow leaves and 
tender boughs, I sent into the woods every •morning for a fresh 
supply of the young shoots of maples, moose- wood, dogwood, and 
withered, of the leaves and berries of which last two shrubs, 
moose are especially fond from their extreme bitterness. A 
lump of rock-salt appeared to afford him great satisfaction, and 
might have been conducive to his health. 

In November, he being at the time eight months old, and in 



APPENDIX. 509 

perfectly excellent health and condition, I adopted by mis- 
chance an expedient which caused his untimely, and, by me, 
much regretted death. The winter having set in, and it being 
inconvenient to send into the woods for a supply of boughs, I 
resolved to try a substitute. I fixed upon turnips, of which a 
pailful was given to him one evening, and which he appeared 
to relish greatly. Next morning, to my dismay, I found the 
poor creature dead, his bo4y dreadfully distended, so much so 
as to have caused death by suffocation, if it had not been 
brought on by any other internal derangement. On inquiring 
as to the probable cause of his death, I learnt too late that 
turnips, when given too suddenly and in too great quantilies 
to domestic cattle, will often cause death. 

I regretted losing him the more, as I intended in the follow- 
ing spring to have sent him to England, as a present to the 
Zoological Society, which at present I believe, does not possess 
a living specimen of the Oervet alces, either of Europe or 
America. 

So tame was my young moose, that he would come into a 
room and jump several times over chairs, backwards and for- 
wards, for a piece of bread. He had a great penchant for 
tobacco-smoke, which, if pufied in his face, would cause him to 
rub his head with great satisfaction against the individual. 

His gambols were sometimes very amusing. Throwing back 
his ears, and dropping the under jaw, he would gallop madly 
up and down on a grass plot, now and then rearing up on his 
hind legs, and striking ferociously with his fore feet at the 
trunks of trees, or anything within reach, varying the amuse- 
ment by an occasional shy and kick behind at some imaginary 
object. No palings could keep him from gardens, in which, 
when not watched he Avould constantly be found, reveling on 
the boughs of currant and lilac bushes ; in fact, tasting fruit 
and flowers most indiscriminately. On being approached for 
the purpose of being turned out, the cunning little brute would 
immediately lie down, from which position, his hide being as 
callous as that of a jackass, he could be got up with difficulty. 

In the very hot days of summer, when he appeared to miss 



510 APPENDIX* 

the cool plunge in the lake, which these animals, in their wild 
condition, always indulge in at this time of year, I continually 
caused buckets of water to be thrown over him. 

At the Agricultural show at Halifax, in the fall of 1853, a 
young moose was exhibited in company with a domestic cow 
which suckled it. It appeared from the owner's account, that 
the cow had in the spring strayed into the woods, as cattle often 
will do, causing the owner a long and weary trudge through 
the bush, till guided by the sound of their tinkling bells, he 
finds them. 

A few weeks afterwards, she found her way back to the farm, 
in cbmpany with a young moose, towards whom she manifested 
the same affection as if it had been her own offspring. It is 
probable that her. milk agreed with the young moose, owing to 
her having been forced during her residence in the woods, to 
feed on the same description of food as these animals. 

Some years ago, a tame moose, full-grown, was in the posses- 
sion of a person named Schultz, who keeps the eighteen mile 
house from Halifax, on the Truro road, by the side of the Grand 
Lake. This animal had been, by great trouble, broken in to draw 
a sledge, which he did with great ease and at a surprising pace. 
Being allowed to roam about act large during the day, he would 
often swim across the Grand Lake to the opposite shore, about 
two miles distant, whence he would return at the sound of the 
conk, which is generally used in the interior of Nova Scotia to 
recall laborers from the woods. I believe he was finally sent 
to the States, where these animals in a domesticated state, fetch 
high prices, exciting almost as great curiosity, though they are 
still occasionally found in the highlands of New York, as they 
would in England. 

The moose is as strictly an inhabitant of the forests of East- 
ern North America, as the American elk or wapiti is of the 
prairies of Western America, the domains of one beginning 
nearly where those of the other leave off. 

Commencing with Nova Scotia, which, I believe, contains a 
greater number of these animals than any district of its size 
in North America, we find him abundant in the wild forests of 



APPENDIX. 511 

■ 

the State, of Maine, and, though now only occasionally met 
with, still farther west in the same latitude, in the mountainous 
district called the Adirondack, or the highlands of New York. 

Throughout his whole book Lieut. Hardy proves himself to be 
a devoted lover of nature ; but as he throws a capital fly, his 
piscatorial facts and incidents possess a peculiar value. After 
commenting upon the general mildness of the Acadian climate, 
and especially upon the delights of spring he thus proceeds : 

To the disciple of old Isaak, .too, this glorious season is 
hailed with delight, as it entices the trout from his wintry re- 
treats, and causes the noble salmon to ascend his favorite rivers, 
and revel in the cool fresh water. No country can offer greater 
inducements to the fly fisherman — particularly him who seeks 
combat with the 'king of fishes* — than British North America. 

Unhindered by bailiffs, trespassing notices or other obstruc- 
tions to the enjoyment of fishing in the Old World (where even 
Norway has loosened the angler's purse-strings, before allowing 
him a cast over the waters of her salmon rivers,) the orthodox 
sportsman may here roam from stream to stream, casting his 
fly, at almost every throw, with a certainty of success, over 
pools by the side of which many a Cis-Atlantic angler would 
envy him his position. 

Salmon ascend the rivers of the provinces at different times 
of the spring and summer. They first appear in the rivers of 
the southern and south-eastern coasts of Nova Scotia. In Gold 
River, which flows into Chester Bay, about forty miles from 
Halifax, salmon will take a fly in the first week in April, even 
before the snow-water has been all discharged from the river. 

The rivers to the north-east of Halifax are not favored by 
their visits till the end of May and the beginning of June, 
while they do not ascend the Atlantic rivers of New Brunswick 
till late in June. 

After spawning, which is completed by the middle of Novem- 
ber in all the provincial streams, the salmon, aided by the fall 
floods, or freshets, as they are termed, return to the sea. Some- 
times, however, they will pass the winter in a torpid and 
emaciated state under the ice in the lakes. 



512 APPENDIX. 

In the beginning of April, I have seen two spent salmon, 
evidently having been under the ice all the winter, taken with 
the worm by a trout-fisherman, in a small stream about seven 
miles distant from Halifax, called Salmon River. 

About a month after the arrival of the older fish in the river, 
the grilse revisit their native fresh water. From their beauty, 
liveliness, and delicate flavor, when caught, they afford great 
sport to the fly fisherman, and may be taken with an occasional 
older and heavier salmon, from the middle of July till the end 
of August, in the northern rfvers of New Brunswick. 

The l&ize of the salmon which frequent the different rivers of 
these provinces varies considerably. In the rivers to the west- 
ward of Nova Scotia, the fish are large, twelve or fifteen pounds 
being the common weights. 

The sea trout ascends for a short distance only, and with the 
tide, those rivers of New Brunswick which flow into the Gulf 
of St. Lawrence, the streams of Prince Edward's Island, and 
the river Philip in Nova Scotia. 

A fish, generally known by the settlers under the name of 
sea trout, white trout, or tide trout, is very numerous in all the 
rivers of the provinces which it ascends in company with the 
salmon. 

This fish is in reality the common river trout, which acquiring 
habits like those of the salmon, and spending the winter months 
in salt water, returns to the river a much l